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THE LETTERS 



OF 



MADAME DE SEVIGNE 



* » 



TO 



HER DAUGHTER AND FRIENDS. 



EDITED BY 



MRS. HALE, 



AUTHORESS OF " WOMAN'S RECORD," " NORTHWOOD," " Y1QIL OF LOVE, 

"MANNERS," ETC. 



"There is none 
In all this cold and hollow world, no fount 
Of deep, strong, deathless love, save that within 
A mother's heart." — Mrs. Hemans. 



REVI3ED 



-V OF THE 

EDITIO *-tfTJ*nVERSITY 



POE^ 



BOSTON: 
ROBERTS BROTHERS. 

1878. 



sit 

SSH 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by 

ROBERT8 BP^THERS, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



CAMBRIDGE : 
FRBBBWORK BY JOHN WILSON AND SON. 



PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION. 



The Editress has set forth so fully, in the introductory sketch of 
Madame de Sevign^s Life and Times, her object in offering this 
book to the American public, that any further prologue may seem 
superfluous ; yet there are one or two things to be said which seem 
to find their most proper expression in a Preface. Since the date 
of the first edition, the changes in the manners and feelings of the 
time have been rapid and continuous ; and they have operated in 
a twofold manner. 

In the first place, we have become as a nation more thoroughly 
acquainted with French literature, and better able to appreciate 
that world of the past in which the great letter-writer lived. 
Madame de Sevigne* was a woman who lived in and for others, — 
for her daughter, her friends, and, at a greater distance, for the 
brilliant circle of distinguished men and women of which she her- 
self was so important a figure. Her letters are made up of inci- 
dent, of meetings, of conversations : they are full of references to 
the topics then uppermost ; they draw half their charm from the 
personality of the writer. Literature of this sort cannot stand 
alone. To enjoy it to the full we must know with some minute- 
ness the history of the times in which it was written, and of the 
people to whom it was written. The knowledge of these things is 
now spreading wider every year, as we become familiar, through 
originals or translations, with the masterpieces of foreign lan- 
guages. For instance, probably the best French sketch of Madame 
de Sevigne is from the pen of M. Sainte-Beuve, the great critic 
whom Mr. Arnold acknowledges for his master. This sketch has 
been translated by Miss Preston, and published within the last 



IV PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION. 

year.* Our limits forbid quotation ; but to every one who can 
enjoy a criticism at once delicate and profound, we recommend 
this incomparable study. 

Again, the times themselves in which we live call for the exercise 
of just such an influence upon the mind and style as might be 
wielded by these letters. We in America are almost all educated 
up to a certain point ; few of us, unfortunately, are educated be- 
yond it. The national character is pushing, energetic, ambitious ; 
setting great value upon money and material luxuries, but without 
appreciation of the refined enjoyments that consist with a moder- 
ate purse, or the delicacy of feeling that marks a sensitive but 
well-balanced mind. The vortex of politics or of business draws 
into it all our energies ; we have nothing to spare for reflection, 
for the observances of friendship, for the amenities of social inter- 
course. A life so vulgarizing alike to the mind and to the style, 
finds its best antidote in the letters of Madame de Sevigne". Here 
is a beautiful existence centred in home and friends ; here are 
thoughts occupied by love for the dear ones around, and by sym- 
pathy with their joys and sorrows. The tumult of the outer world 
is heard faintly. The writer's mind is busied in a calmer sphere, 
and the exquisite tenderness of her heart gives that transparent 
grace to her style that has been the wonder and the despair of two 
centuries. 

We are a letter-writing people ; and no better models for let- 
ters exist than Madame de Se'vigne^s. We are a practical and 
energetic people ; and no better complement to such virtues can 
be found than the tender affection and delicate refinement of 
Madame de SeVigne. 

Philadklphia, Nov. 26, 1868. 



* Sainte-Beuve's Portraits of Celebrated Women. 



MADAME DE SEVIGNE AND HER TIMES. 



An honorable celebrity has been universally accorded to 
Madame de Sevigne. For nearly two centuries her "Letters" 
have been the admiration of all lovers of elegant literature. The 
natural grace, the " curiosa felicitas" of these epistles have ren- 
dered them remarkable as to style, and the artist-like pictures 
of manners, the lively accounts of cotemporaneous incidents give 
them very great value as aids to the study of history. Theu 
they are trustworthy documents; every word, every circum- 
stance is read with particular satisfaction, because the character 
and position of the writer assure us of her perfect intent to com- 
municate truth. 

Madame de Sevigne lived in what the French consider their 
Augustan Age. Great men in arts, in arms, in literature gave 
glory to the most splendid monarch that ever sat on the throne 
of France. At the same time the position of women was both 
active and brilliant. The social existence of the women of the 
higher classes was one that gave scope to talent and opportunity 
to energy. In those days the great dame was occupied with the 
administration of her property and the exaltation of her family. 
Far from being absorbed in a narrow routine of personality, she 
considered the sacrifice of private feelings to family greatness a 
positive duty, and the sacrifice of family greatness to the king — - 
that is, the state — a still more imperative obligation. 

As our views of moral responsibility extend, the intellectual 
horizon enlarges. The woman who was accustomed to dwell 
upon considerations beyond mere fireside comforts or fashionable 
display, who went from the individual to the family, and from 
the family to the state, must of necessity have enlarged her un- 
derstanding in proportion to the elevation and extent of her 



6 MADAME DE S £ V I G N 6 

views. It is only by a just development of the intellectual facul- 
ties that the heart can be properly regulated, and nowhere is 
this truth more strikingly illustrated than in the life of Madame 
de Sevigne. 

Her passionate love for her daughter was always made to yield 
to the dictates of a wise prudence and just propriety. Though 
born with excessive sensibility, great vivacity, amiable instincts, 
and warm imagination, that is to say, with the qualities and feel- 
ings most likely to lead their possessor astray or into indiscre- 
tions, yet this youthful widow managed her estate and her 
children with admirable wisdom, and so regulated her own con- 
duct as to be above the slightest censure in a court of relaxed 
morals and of many temptations. This was accomplished because 
her brilliant qualities rested on the solid basis of serious and 
valuable acquirements, a practical knowledge of business, and a 
trusting and sincere piety. 

To make the example of this excellent woman more widely 
and familiarly known in America is the main object of this vol- 
ume. As a model in private life, her conduct and character 
deserve to be studied. Her u Letters" are referred to by the best 
authorities, as the most charming specimens of epistolary art 
extant, yet no edition has ever been issued in this country. Nor 
would one be profitable, because the complete work is too large 
Still it is desirable to have access to this treasury of beautiful 
sentiments and entertaining sketches ; and we have here selected 
such portions of her correspondence as will make her virtues 
known and give those lessons of practical goodness her life so 
happily illustrated. 

In order to do this we have arranged the correspondence on a 
new plan. Hitherto the "Letters" have been thrown together 
according to date, and the reader was compelled to change from 
one correspondent to another, even on the same page, often find- 
ing similar details in several consecutive epistles. In this volume 
each person addressed has his or her own department — thus the 
Letters to Madame de Grignan, the soul of the correspondence, 
form one unbroken series. Much care has been taken to keep 
the fine and often sparkling threads of narrative inwoven in the 
Letters continuous, and errors in the only English translation 
we have seen (published in London, in 1811) have been cor- 
rected by comparing it with the best French editions of the 



AND HER TIMES. 7 

"Letters."* And now we will endeavor to sketch the life of 
this lovely and lovable woman, though the events are in no 
wise remarkable, and the truest portrait of her character and 
genius must be sought in her letters. 

MARIE DE RABUTIN-CHANTAL 

was born February 5th, 1627, in the ancestral chateau of Bour- 
billy, between Samur and Epoisses. Her father was Celse-Be- 
nigne de Rabutin, Baron of Ohantal ; her mother, Marie de Cou- 
langes, was daughter of a Secretary of State, and belonged to a 
family celebrated for wit, and, generally, remarkable for integ- 
rity. The baron was slain during the siege of Rochelle, fighting 
against the English in their descent on the island of Rhe; and it 
was thought he was killed by the hand of Cromwell. The little 
Marie was then but eighteen months old, and soon afterward 
was, by the death of her mother, left an orphan indeed. The 
Baroness de Ohantal, her grandmother, seemed the person nat- 
urally destined to have the guardianship of the child, but that 
lady was occupied in religious duties (she was afterward a can- 
onized saint, and known as the u Blessed Mother of Ohantal," 
and seems to have deserved the distinction, according to the 
feeling of those days, as she founded eighty-seven religious 
houses), and, therefore, permitted her granddaughter to pass 
into the hands of her mother's relations. She was first taken by 
her grandfather, M. de Coulanges ; when he died, shortly after- 
ward, the orphan, then about nine years of age, passed into the 
family of her uncle, Christophe de Coulanges, Abbe de Livry. 
This was a fortunate event for the young girl. She was brought 
up and educated with her cousin, Philippe Emanuel de Cou- 
langes, enjoying the advantages of the most intellectual society 
of the age; her learned uncle was her companion, and encour- 
aged her to cultivate her talents. This last advantage can hardly 
be estimated now, when feminine education is common and popu- 
lar; but then the instruction of young ladies was usually limited 
to the accomplishments of reading, writing, dancing, and em- 
broidery. Marie de Rabutin had the entree to her uncle's 

* The explanatory notes, which afford useful particulars concerning 
personages and events mentioned in the Letters, are partly from the 
French, and partly by the English translator and the present Editor. 



8 MADAME DE SEVIGNE 

library and his encouragement, if not personal instruction, in her 
literary pursuits. She was taught Latin, Italian, and Spanish ; 
her instructors were Menage and Ohapelain, and other professors 
of polite literature. The result is before the world — that the 
woman's mind is as susceptible of cultivation as that of the 
man's, and that she is made happier, better, more lovely, and 
more capable of doing good by a liberal and careful cultivation 
of her intellectual powers. 

In person and manners Mademoiselle de Rabutin is represented 
as very attractive, if not positively beautiful. M. Ph. A Grou- 
ville, her French biographer, thus describes her: 

" An exact portrait of her person would savor of romance, 
and would be out of place; we may, however, represent the 
young Rabutin to our imagination as a truly handsome woman^ 
with more character of countenance than beauty ; with features 
more expressive than commanding; an easy figure, a stature 
rather tall than short, a redundancy of fine light hair, excellent 
health, a fine color, a brilliant complexion, eyes, the vivacity of 
which gave additional animation to her language and agility to 
her movements, a pleasing voice, as much knowledge of music 
as existed in those days, and of dancing, in which she excelled 
for the times. This is the idea that her portraits, her friends, or 
herself give of her. And certainly her nose, tending a little 
toward the square, which she herself ridicules, could not spoil 
her whole appearance as much as the age of eighteen embellished 
it, when, in 1644, she married Henry, Marquis de Sevigne, of an 
ancient family of Brittany. To this appendage of merit and 
charms she added a dower of a hundred thousand crowns, which, 
at that period, were not of less value than seven hundred thou- 
sand francs." 

The Marquis de Sevigne was also rich, moreover he was young, 
handsome, and gay. Her good uncle doubtless believed he had 
secured the happiness of his niece by this connection; but the 
sequel proved otherwise. The marquis soon showed himself to 
be weak, vain, extravagant, and, finally, a profligate. Though 
he always admitted the charms and merits of his wife, yet, after 
a year or two, he began to neglect her for unworthy associates. 
The siren of that age, Ninon de l'Enclos, drew him to her side, 
and for that wanton the happiness of his hone was sacrificed. 

Bussy de Rabutin, cousin of Madame de Sevigne's father, an 



AND HER TIMES 9 

unprincipled man, but distinguished for wit and talent, had 
always admired and loved, or pretended to be in love with his 
fascinating cousin, and she had always laughed at his flattery 
and rejected his suit. He took advantage of her husband's infi- 
delity to offer an insulting proposal, that she should take her re- 
venge. He was reproved in such terms of cold and calm 
severity as put a final repulse to his gallantry toward her. 
Though their intercourse continued friendly through life, yet, 
judging from the tone of her letters to him, always constrained, 
and confined chiefly- to his own affairs, we feel that, though she 
acknowledged their relationship, she never esteemed the man. 

Her husband was killed in a duel, about seven years after mar- 
riage, and Madame de Sevigne, at the age of twenty -five, was 
left a widow, with two children, the eldest, her son, the young- 
est, that idolized daughter, who made the light of her mother's 
life. 

In spite of the faults and vices of the Marquis de Sevigne, his 
sudden and shocking death greatly afflicted his wife. She was, 
for a time, nearly overwhelmed with sorrow, but soon found de- 
volving upon her the hard and painful duty of endeavoring to 
extricate her estate from utter ruin. The follies and waste of 
her husband came near making her and the children penniless. 
She retired to the country, and, aided by the counsel and en- 
couragement of her uncle the abbe, entered on her new duties. 
"We quote from one of her French biographers, who seems to 
have searched out her history with great care : 

" Madame de Sevigne's good sense, natural rectitude, and laud- 
able pride, gave her a taste for economy, and the advice of her 
uncle taught her to understand it. Her mind, notwithstanding 
\he habit of sacrificing to the Graces, had no repugnance to 
business. She well knew how to sell or let estates, receive her 
rents, direct her workmen, etc. She did not trust to her beauty 
alone for gaining law-suits. Menage relates, that one day, rec- 
ommending an affair with great ease and simplicity to the 
President de Bellievre, she felt herself at last a little embarrassed 
with the terms to be used, when she said, ' At least, sir, I know 
the air perfectly, but I forget the words.' 

u With regard to education, not only do the merit of her son 
and daughter, as well as their virtues, show the extent of her 
capacity in this respect, but it would be easy to extract from her 



10 MADAME DE S E V I G N £ 

letters a series of maxims upon the subject, by which it would 
be seen that, far from adhering to the false methods in vogue in 
her days, she had foretold many of the improvements of which 
we are justly vain in ours. ,, 

Though she devoted herself seduously to the duties of her 
family, yet Madame de Sevigne did not long live a recluse. She 
saved her property, returned to society, and passed much of her 
time in Paris, where she was the idol of her circle, people of the 
first rank in letters and worth of character, as well as stars in 
the fashionable world. She was also a frequent visitor at court, 
where the king, Louis XIY, always received her with respect. 

Madame de Sevigne had many adorers, among whom were the 
Seigneur Turenne and the Prince de Oonti, and her friends were 
most devoted — Fouquet was one of them, and she was true to 
him in his great misfortune, as her letters show. But she ap- 
pears never to have had the least intention of a second marriage; 
to promote the happiness of her children and the enjoyment of 
her friends, was the object of her life. Her son, the Marquis 
de Sevigne, who entered the army, was very frivolous, weak, 
and dissipated in his youth; his mother's watchful care and pa- 
tient forbearance saved him from utter degradation. About 
middle age he married an amiable wife of noble family, left the 
army, and cultivated a taste for literature. To effect this mar- 
riage, and thus secure the reformation of her son, Madame de 
Sevigne gave up to him so large a portion of her estate that 
she was afterward in comparatively straitened circumstances. 

But the daughter, Margaret Frances, was her mother's glory, 
the idol that seemed to claim the worship of the mother's soul. 
Passion rather than affection possessed Madame de Sevigne when 
writing to or of her " infinitely dear child." That the daughter 
did not reciprocate this love in its full flow has been urged to 
prove that Mudame de Grignan was cold in temperament or self- 
ish in feeling. We do not find evidences to support this charge. 
The mother, ambitious for her daughter, and wishing to keep 
her in Paris had married her to the Count de Grignan, who was 
• rich, and of the high nobility, and had a place at court. But he 
was also Lieutenant-Governor of Provence, and ordered, soon 
after his marriage, to his government. His wife had to follow 
him ; she seems to have loved and respected her husband, as w r as 
her duty She had children ; she was at the head of a great es- 



AND HER TIMES. 11 

tablishment, and she could not give the whole of her heart, 
thoughts, and time to her mother, as the latter did to hei 
daughter. 

The separation was a terrible privation to Madame de Sevigne, 
but it was the cause of her moral and literary improvement, as 
well as of the series of "Letters to Madame de Grignan," which, 
of their kind, are unequaled in any language. The mother's 
genius lives in this correspondence ; her pen gives importance to 
the most trifling occurrences, and makes hard facts as interesting 
as fairy stories. 

Among other advantages of life, Madame de Sevigne retained 
her good looks, as she did her cheerful disposition, to the last; 
hence the name of Mere Beaute (Mother Beauty) given her by M. 
de Coulanges. Her constitution was good, and she managed it with 
great judgment. In thirty years the only disorder she had known 
was rheumatism. Happy all her life by the exercise of natural 
affections, Madame de Sevigne thought less of the ravages of 
time ; and when death terminated her existence in 1696, her ill- 
ness, the result of the fatigue and uneasiness she had endured for 
some months on her daughter's account, took her by surprise, 
and was announced by no symptom. It was short. In her last 
moments she was resigned, and perfectly calm. Thus died Mad- 
ame de Sevigne, aged about seventy years, and was interred 
in the Collegiate Church of Grignan, leaving to posterity in the 
record of her blameless life, as in her exquisite writings, the 
brightest and purest model which her age affords. 

S. J. H. 




LETTERS OF MAMME DE SfiVIGNti, 

FROM 1655 TO 1669. 

ADDRESSED TO THE COUNT DE BUSSY.* 



» t  « . 



LETTER L 

In the Country, June 26, 1655. 

I had no doubt that you would take some opportunity of 
bidding me adieu, either at my own house or from the camp 
at Landrecy. As I am not a woman of ceremony, I am con- 
tent with the latter ; and have not even thought of being 
angry, that you failed in coming to me before you set out. 

I have not stirred from this desert, since your departure ; 
and, to speak frankly, I am not much afflicted to find that you 
are with the army. I should be an unworthy cousin of so 

* The Count Bussy de Rabutin, first cousin to the father of Madame 
de Sevigne, was, on account of his relationship, always on terms of 
intimacy with her. He was a famous wit and satirist, as his Letters 
and Memoirs show, but not of principles or character to excite love or 
esteem in the soul of such a woman as Madame de Sevigne. How- 
ever, they were cousins, and though she refused his suit, she seems to 
have felt a deep interest in his welfare. She corresponded with him 
occasionally till her death, but her letters to him have less interest 
than those she wrote to others, especially to her daughter. We give a 
few of her first and best letters to Count de Bussy, as preliminary to 
the real work of her heart and mind, her correspondence with Madame 
de Grignan, 



20 LETTERS TO 

brave a cousin, if I were sorry to see you, during the present 
campaign, at the head of the finest regiment in France, and in 
so glorious a post as the one you hold. I dare say you would 
disown any sentiments less worthy than these ; I leave weaker 
and more tender feelings to the true bagnio gentry. Every 
one loves in his own way. I profess to be heroic as well as 
you, and am proud to boast of these sentiments. Some 
women, perhaps, would think this a little in the old Roman 
style, and would thank God they were not JRomans* that they 
might still preserve some feelings of humanity. But on this 
subject I can assure them I am not so inhuman as they sup- 
pose ; and, with all my heroism, I wish your safe return as 
passionately as they can do. I trust, my dear cousin, you 
will not doubt the truth of this, nor that I fervently pray your 
life may be spared. This is the adieu you would have re- 
ceived from me in person, and which I now beg you to ac- 
cept from hence, as I have accepted yours from Landrecy. 



LETTER n. 

Paris, July 14, 1655. 
Will you always disgrace your relations ? Will you never 
be weary of making yourself the subject of conversation in 
every campaign ? Do you imagine it can give us pleasure to 
hear that M. de Turenne has sent word to court that you 
have done nothing worthy of notice at Landrecy ?f This is 
really very mortifying to us, and you may easily comprehend 
how deeply I feel the affronts you bring upon your family. 
But I know not why I thus amuse myself, for I have no 
leisure to carry on the jest. I must tell you, therefore, that I 
am delighted with the success which has attended your ex- 
ploits. I wrote you a long letter from the country, which J 

* Yerse from Corneille's tragedy of the Horatii. 
f Mere jesting. Bussy had merited and obtained the praises of 
Turenne. 



THE COUNT DE BUSSY. . 21 

fear you have not received. I should be sorry it were lost, for 
you would laugh heartily at its contents. 

I was yesterday at Madame de Montglas's ; she had just re- 
ceived a letter from you, as also had Madame de . I 

expected one likewise, but was disappointed. I suppose you 
were unwilling to effect too many wonders at once. I am 
not sorry, however, and shall some day claim a whole cargo 
for myself. Adieu, my cousin. The gazette speaks of you 
but slightly, which has given offense to many, and to me 
especially, for no one can be so much interested in your af- 
fairs as myself. 



LETTER m. 

Paris, July 19, 1655. 
This is the third time I have written to you since you left 
Paris, a sufficient proof that I have nothing upon my mind 
against you. I received your farewell letter from Landrecy 
while I was in the country, and answered it immediately. I 
see plainly that my letter has never reached you, and I am 
extremely vexed at it ; for, besides its being written with be- 
coming affection, it was in my opinion a very pretty compo- 
sition ; and as it was designed for you only, I am wroth that 
another should have the pleasure of reading it. I have since 
written to you by the servant you dispatched hither with let- 
ters to some of your favorites. I did not amuse myself by 
quarreling with you for not remembering me at the same 
time, but wrote you a line or two at full speed, which, how- 
ever incoherent, would inform you of the pleasure I received 
from the success of your regiment at Landrecy. This intelli- 
gence came to us in the most acceptable manner possible, by 
some of the court, who assured us that Cardinal Mazarin had 
spoken very handsomely of you to the king, who afterward 
joined with the whole court in extolling your conduct. You 
may conceive that my joy was not inconsiderable at hearing 



22 LETTERS TO 

all this ; but to return to my story. This was the subject of 
my second letter, and five or six days after I received one 
from you, full of complaints against me. You see, however, 
my poor cousin, with how little justice you complain ; and 
hence I draw this fine moral reflection, that we should never 
condemn a person unheard. This is my justification. An- 
other, perhaps, would have expressed the same thing in fewer 
words. You must bear with my imperfections, in considera- 
tion of my friendship. Every one has his peculiar style ; 
mine, as you see, is by no means laconic. 



LETTER IV. 

Paris, November 25, 1655. 

You affect great things, M. le Comte : under the pretense 
that you write like a second Cicero, you think yourself en- 
titled to ridicule people. The passage you remarked, in real- 
ity, made me laugh heartily ; but I am astonished that you 
found no other equally ludicrous ; for, in the way I wrote to 
you, it is a miracle that you comprehended my meaning ; 
and I see plainly that either you have a greater share of wit, 
or that my letter is better, than I imagined. I am glad, how- 
ever, you have profited by my advice. 

I am told that you have asked leave to stay at the frontiers. 
As you know, my poor count, that mine is a blunt and hon- 
est sort of love, I am desirous your request may be granted. 
This is the road, it is said, to preferment, and you know how 
interested I am in your welfare ; but I shall be pleased either 
way. If you remain, true friendship shall find its account ; 
if you return, affectionate friendship shall be satisfied. 

Madame de Roquelaure is returned so handsome that she 
yesterday completely challenged the Louvre ; this kindled 
such jealousy in the beauties that were present, that they 
have resolved, out of spite, she shall not be a party at any of 
the after-suppers, and you know how gay and pleasant they 



THE COUNT DE BUSSY. 23 

are. Madame de Fiemies would have retained her there yes- 
terday, but it was understood by the queen's answer that her 
presence would be dispensed with. 

Adieu, my dear cousin ; believe me to be the most faithful 
friend you have in the world. 



LETTER V. 

Paris, May 20, 1667. 
I received a letter from you, my dear cousin, when I was 
in Brittany, in which you talked of our ancestors, the Rabu- 
tins, and of the beauty of Bourbilly. But as I had heard from 
Paris that you were expected there, and as I had hoped my- 
self to arrive much sooner, I deferred writing to you ; and 
now I find you are not coming at all. You know that noth- 
ing is now talked of but war. The whole court is at camp, 
and the whole camp is at court ; and every place being a 
desert, I prefer the desert of Livri forest, where I shall pass 
the summer, 

En attendant que nos guerriers 
Reviennent couverts de lauriers.* 

There are two lines for you, but I do not know whether I 
have heard them before, or have just made them. As it is a 
matter of no great importance, I shall resume the thread of 
my prose. My heart has been very favorably inclined toward 
you, since I have seen so many people eager to begin, or 
rather to revive, a business in which you acquired so much 
honor during the time you were able to engage in it. It is 
a sad thing for a man of courage to be confined at home 
when there are such great doings in Flanders.f As you feel, 
no doubt, all that a man of spirit and valor can feel, it is im- 
prudent in me to revive so painful a subject. I hope you 

* Waiting the jeturn of our warriors covered with laurels. 
f Busay was exiled to his estates. 



\ 



24 LETTERS TO 

will forgive me, in consideration of the great interest I .ake 
in your affairs. 

It is said you have written to the king. Send me a copy 
of your letter, and give me a little information respecting 
your mode of life, what sort of things amuse you, and whether 
the alterations you are making in your house do not contrib- 
ute a good deal toward it. I have spent the winter in Brit- 
tany, where I have planted a great number of trees, and a 
labyrinth, that will require Ariadne's clew to find the way out 
of it. I have also purchased some land, to which I have said, 
as usual, " I shall convert you into a park." I have ex- 
tended my walks at a trifling expense. My daughter sends 
you a thousand remembrances. I beg mine to all your 
family. 



LETTER VI. 

Paris, June 3, 1668. 

I wrote to you the last ; why have you not answered my 
letter ? I have been expecting to hear from you, and have 
at length found the Italian proverb true : chi offende non per- 
dona — the offender never pardons. 

Madame d'Assigny has informed me that part of a cornice 
has fallen upon your head, and hurt you considerably. If 
you were well, and I dared exercise a little wicked wit upon 
the occasion, I should tell you that they are not trifling orna- 
ments like these that injure the heads of husbands in general ; 
and that it would be a fortunate circumstance for them if they 
met with no worse evil than the fall of a cornice. But I will 
not talk nonsense ; I will first know how you are, and assure 
you that the same reason which made me languid when you 
were bled, gives me the headache from your accident. The 
ties of relationship can not, I think, be carried further than 
this. 

My daughter was on the point of marriage. The affair is 
broken off, I hardly know why. She kisses your hand ; I do 



THE COUNT DE BUSST. 25 

the same to your whole family. Have you done any thing 
yet with regard to the court ? Pray let me know how you 
stand there. 



LETTER VII. 

Paris, July 26, 1668. 

I begin by thanking you, my dear cousin, for your letters 
to the king. They would afford me pleasure even .if they 
were written by a stranger. They have awakened in me sen- 
timents of pity, and I should think they must produce the 
same effect on our sovereign. It is true, he does not bear 
the name of Rabutin, as I do. 

The prettiest girl in France sends her compliments to you. 
This title is due to her ; I am, however, weary of doing the 
honors of it. She is more worthy than ever of your esteem 
and friendship. 

You do not know, I believe, that my son is gone to Candia 
with M. de Roannes, and the Count de Saint Paul. He con- 
sulted M. de Turenne, Cardinal du Retz, and M. de Rochefou- 
cauld upon this : most important personages ! and they all 
approved it so highly that it was fixed upon, and rumored 
abroad, before I knew any thing of the matter. In short, he 
is gone. I have wept bitterly, for it is a source of great 
grief to me. I shall not have a moment's rest during his 
voyage. I see all its dangers, and terrify myself to death ; 
but alas, I am wholly out of the question ; for, in things of 
this nature, mothers have no voice. Adieu. 



LETTER VIH. 

Paris, September 4, 1668. 
Rise, count ; I will not kill you while prostrate at my feet, 
and take your sword to resume the combat. But it is better 
that I should give you life, and that we should live in peace.* 

* Bussj and his cousin had frequent quarrels : the reason has before 

2 



26 LETTERS TO 

I exact but one condition : that you own the thing as it has 
happened. This is a very generous proceeding on my part ; 
you can no longer call me a little brute. 

M. de Montausier has just been appointed governor to the 
Dauphin. 

Je t'ai comble de biens, je t'en veux accabler.* 

Adieu, count. Now I have conquered you, I shall every 
where proclaim that you are the bravest man in France ; and 
whenever extraordinary duels are mentioned, I shall relate 
ours. My daughter sends her compliments. The idea you 
express of her good fortune in the late affair is some consola- 
tion to us. 



LETTER IX. 

Paris, December 4, 1668. 

Have you not received the letter, sir, in which I gave you 
life, disdaining to kill you at my feet ? I expected an answer 
to this noble action ; but you have thought it unworthy your 
notice: you have contented yourself with rising from the 
ground, and taking your sword as I commanded you. I hope 
you will never again employ it against me. 

I must tell you a piece of news that will, I am sure, give 
you pleasure. It is, that the prettiest girl in France is going 
to be married, not to the handsomest youth, but to one of the 
worthiest men in the kingdom — to M. de Grignan, whom you 
have long known. All his wives died to give place to your 
cousin ; and, through extraordinary kindness, even his father 
and mother died too ; so that knowing him to be richer than 
ever, and finding him besides, by birth, situation, and good 
qualities, every thing we could wish, we have not trafficked 
with him, as is customary, on the occasion, but confided in 
the two families that have gone before us. He seems very 
well pleased with the alliance, and, as soon as we have heard 

been given. The new difference to which she alludes seems Lo have 
been a slight one. 

* I have loaded thee with favors, I will add to the burden. 



THE COUNT DK BU88Y. 27 

from his uncle, the Archbishop of Aries, his other uncle, the 
Archbishop of Usez, being on the spot, the business will be 
finished — probably before the end of the year. As I am a 
lover of decorum, I could not fail asking your advice and ap- 
probation. The public seem pleased. This is a great deal, 
for we are such fools as to be almost always governed by its 
opinion. 



LETTER X. 

Paris, January 7, 1669. 

It is as true that I did not receive an answer to the letter 
in which I gave you life, as that I was in pain, lest, with the 
best intention possible to pardon you, I had unintentionally 
killed you, being little accustomed to wield a sword. This 
was the only good reason I could assign to myself for your 
silence. In the mean time you had written, though your let- 
ter had never reached me. Allow me still to regret the cir- 
cumstance. You always write pleasantly ; and if I had wished 
to lose any portion of your correspondence, it would not have 
been that letter. I am glad you approve of the marriage w T ith 
M. de Grignan ; he is a very good man, and very gentlemanly — 
has wealth, rank, holds a high office, and is much esteemed 
and respected by the world. What more is necessary ? I 
think we are fortunate, and as you are of the same opinion, 
sign the deed I sent you ; and be assured, my dear cousin, that 
if it depended on me, you should be first at the entertainment. 
How admirably well you would act your part! Since you 
left us, I have heard no wit equal to yours, and I have said to 
myself a thousand times, " Good heavens, what a difference H f 
War* is talked of, and it is said the king will take the field in 
person. 

* It was a vague report No idea was yet entertained of breaking 
the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, concluded only seven months before. 
But it was in contemplation to interfere in the quarrel between the 
Count Palatin and the Duke of Lorraine, and force the latter to lay 
down his arms. 



LETTERS TO MADAME DE GMGNAN 

FROM 1671 TO 1690. 



LETTER I. 

Paris, Monday, February 9, 1671. 
I receive your letters in the same way in which you re- 
ceived my ring. I am in tears while I read them. My heart 
seems ready to burst. Bystanders would think that you had 
treated me ill in your letters, or were sick, or that some ac- 
cident had happened to you ; whereas every thing is the re- 
verse. You love me, my dear child ; you love me, and you 
tell me so in a manner that makes my tears flow in torrents. 
You continue your journey without any disagreeable accident.f 

* Margaret de Sevigne, only daughter of Madame de Sevigne, was 
born in 1649, a short time before her father was killed. The educa- 
tion and happiness of this " lovely and infinitely dear child," was the 
occupation, delight, and anxiety of the mother's long life. For her, 
Madame de Sevigne thought, read, observed, and wrote. The follow- 
ing letters are not only charming as specimens of epistolary style, but 
also full of interest and instruction to those who would study the hu- 
man mind in its most sacred development of maternal love. 

f In January, 1670, this idolized daughter of Madame de Sevigne was 
married to the Count de Grignan, who was Lieutenant-Qeneral of the 
Government of Provence, where he found it necessary to reside. The 
separation of mother and daughter, which took place early the follow- 
ing year, was the occasion for the world-renowned correspondence, 
which has immortalized the genius of one, and the names of both. 



LETTERS TO MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 29 

To know this, is the thing I could the most desire ; and yet 
am I in this deplorable condition ! And do you then take a 
pleasure in thinking of me ? in talking of me ? and have more 
satisfaction in writing your sentiments to me than in telling 
them ? In whatever way they come, they meet with a recep- 
tion, the warmth of which can only be known to those who 
love as I do. In expressing yourself thus, you make me feel 
the greatest tenderness for you that is possible to be felt ; and 
if you think of me, be assured that I, on my side, am contin- 
ually thinking of you. Mine is what the devotees call an 
habitual thought ; it is what we ought to have for the Divine 
Being, were we to do our duty. Nothing is capable of divert- 
ing me from it. I see your carriage continually driving on, 
never, never to come nearer to me ; I fancy myself on the 
road, and am always in apprehensions of the carriage over- 
turning. I am almost distracted at the violent rains we have 
had the last three days, and am frightened to death at the 
thoughts of the Rhone. I have at this instant a map before 
me ; I know every place you sleep at. To-night you are at 
Nevers, Sunday you will be at Lyons, where you will receive 
this letter. I could only write to you at Moulins by Madame 
de Gueneguad. I have had but two letters from you ; per- 
haps a third is on the road ; they are my only comfort. I 
ask for no other. I am utterly incapable of seeing much 
company at a time ; I may recover the feeling hereafter, but 
it is out of the question now. The Duchesses of Verneciel 
and Arpajon have used all their endeavors to divert me, for 
which I am much obliged to them. Never, surely, were there 
better people than in this country. I was all the day on Sat- 
urday at Madame de Villars,* talking of you, and weeping ; 
she takes a great share in my sorrow. Yesterday I heard 
Monsieur d'Agenf preach, and was at Madame de Puisieux 
and Madame du Pui-du-Fou's, who both send you a thousand 

* Marie de Bellefond, Marchioness of Yillars, mother to the late 
marshal of that name. 

f Claude Joli, a celebrated preacher, afterward Bishop of Agen. 



30 LETTERS TO 

remembrances. This evening I shall sup tete-cirt$te* in the 
Fauxbourgs. These are my carnivals. I have a mass said 
for you every day. This is no superstitious devotion. I have 
seen Adhemar f but for a moment ; I am going to write to 
him and thank him for his bed, for which I am more obliged 
to him even than you are. If you would give me real pleas 
ure, take care of your health, sleep in that little snug bed, eat 
broth, and exert that courage which I want. Continue to 
write to me. The friendships you left behind you here are 
all increased, and I should never have done with compliments 
If I were to tell you how much every one is concerned about 
your health. 



LETTER H. 

Paris, Wednesday, February 11, 1671. 
I have received but three of those delightful letters that so 
affect my heart. One is still on the road. If I were not so 
fond of them, and loth to lose any thing that you write me, I 
should not think I had lost much ; for nothing can be wished 
for beyond what I find in those I have already received. In 
the first place, they are well written, and are besides so tender, 
so natural, that it is impossible not to believe every thing 

* With Madame de la Fayette. 

f Joseph Adhemar de Monteil, brother to M. de Grignan, known at 
first by the name of Adhemar, was, after the death of Charles Philip 
d' Adhemar, his brother, which happened the 6th of February, 1612, 
called the Chevalier de Grignan ; but being afterward married to N*** 
d'Oraison, he resumed the name of Count Adhemar. In 1675 he was 
colonel to a regiment of horse, at the head of which he signalized him- 
self on several occasions, particularly at the battle of Altemheim. He 
was made field-marshal in 1688, and, had not repeated attacks of the 
gout prevented him from continuing in the service, he would, doubt- 
less, from his reputation, merit, and illustrious birth, have obtained 
the most considerable military honors. He died without issue the 19th 
of November, 1713, at the age of sixty-nine. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 31 

contained in them. Distrust itself would here stand con- 
vinced. They wear that air of truth which, as I have always 
maintained, carries authority with it ; while falsehood and lies 
skulk under a load of words, without having the power of 
persuasion ; the more they attempt to show themselves, the 
more they are entangled. Your expressions are sincere, and 
they appear so ; they are used only to explain your meaning, 
and receive an irresistible force from their noble simplicity. 
Such, my dear child, do your letters appear to me. As for 
me, I appear to myself quite divested of every thing that 
made me agreeable ; I am ashamed to appear in society ; and 
notwithstanding the endeavors that have been used to bring 
me back to it, I have latterly been like one just come out of 
the woods ; nor could I be otherwise. Few are worthy of un- 
derstanding what I feel ; I have sought those chosen few, and 
avoided all others. I fancy you are at Moulins to-day ; if so, 
you will receive one of my letters. I did not write to you at 
Briafre ; if I had, it must have been on that cruel Wednes- 
day, the very day you set off ; and I was so overwhelmed 
with grief that I was incapable even of tasting the consola- 
tion of writing to you. This is the third letter ; my second 
is at Lyons. Be sure you let me know if you receive them. 
When at a distance, we no longer laugh at a letter beginning 
with, " I received yours," etc. The thought of your going 
still further and further from me, and of seeing the carriage 
continually driving on, is what harrows me most. You are 
always going on, and at last, as you say, you will find your- 
self at two hundred leagues' distance from me ; resolved, 
therefore, not to suffer such injustice without repaying it in 
my turn, I shall set myself about removing further off, too, 
and shall do it so effectually as to make it three hundred. A 
very pretty distance you will say. And would it not be a 
step highly worthy the love I have for you, to undertake to 
traverse all France to find you out ? I am delighted at the 
reconciliation between you and the coadjutor ; you know how 
necessaiy I always thought it to the happiness of your life. 



32 LETTERS TO 

Preserve this treasure with care. You own yourself charmed 
with his goodness : let him see you are not ungrateful. I 
shall soon finish my letter ; perhaps when you get to Lyons 
you will be so giddy with the honors you will receive there, 
that you will not find time to read it ; find enough, however, 
I beseech you, to let me hear of you, and whether you em- 
bark upon that horrible Rhone. 

"Wednesday night. 

I have this moment received yours from Nogent ; it was 
given me by a very honest fellow, whom I questioned as much 
as I could ; but your letter is worth more than any thing that 
could have been told me. It was but justice, my dear, that 
you should be the first to make me smile, after having caused 
me so many tears. What you tell me of Monsieur Busche is 
quite original ; it is what may be called a genuine stroke of 
eloquence. I did laugh then, I own, and I should have been 
ashamed of it had I done any thing else than cry for this 
week past. I met this Monsieur Busche in the street, when 
he was bringing your horses for you to set out ; I stopped 
him, and all in tears asked him his name, which he told me. 
" Monsieur Busche," said I, sobbing all the while, " I recom- 
mend my daughter to your care ; do not, dear Monsieur 
Busche, do not overturn her ; and when you have taken her 
safely to Lyons, if you will call upon me with the agreeable 
news, I will give you something to drink." I shall, therefore, 
certainly do so. What you say of him has greatly added to 
the respect I had for him before. 



LETTER IE. 

Paris, Thursday, February 12, 1671. 
This is only a line precursory, for I shall not write to you 
till to-morrow; but I wish you to know what I have just 
taard. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 33 

Yesterday the president, Amelot, after having made a great 
number of visits, toward night found himself a good deal out 
of order, and was soon afterward seized with a violent apo- 
plectic fit, of which he died about eight o'clock this morning* 
I would have you write to his wife ; the whole family aie in 
the greatest affliction. 

Xhe Duchess de la Valliere sent a letter to the king, the 
contents of which have not transpired, and then a message by 
the Marshal de Bellefond, to say, " that she would have quit- 
ted the court, after having lost the honor of his good opinion, 
had she been able to prevail with herself to see him no more s 
but that her weakness on that head had been so great that 
she was scarcely capable, even now, of making a sacrifice of it 
to her God; she was resolved, however, that the remains of 
the passion she had felt for him should constitute part of hex 
penance, and, as she had devoted her youth to him, it could 
not be thought much if the rest of her life were spent in cares 
for her own salvation." The king wept bitterly, and sent Mon- 
sieur Colbert to Ch ail lot, to beg her to come directly to Ver- 
sailles, that he might speak to her once more. Monsieur Col- 
bert accordingly conducted her thither. The king had a whole 
hour's conversation with her, and w r ept a great deal. Madame 
de Montespan ran with open arms, and tears in her eyes, to 
receive her. We do not rightly understand all this. Some 
say she will remain at Versailles, and continue about the 
rourt ; others that she will return to Chaillot. We shall see. 



LETTER IV. 

Paris, Tuesday, March 3, 1671. 
If you were here, my dear child, you would certainly laugh 
at me. I am set down to write beforehand, but from a very 
different reason to that which I once gave you for writing to 
a person two days before I could send my letter : it was a 
matter of indifference to me, when I wrote, as I knew I should 

2* 



34 LETTERS TO 

have no more to say to him at the two days' end than I had 
then. But here the case is otherwise. I do it now from the 
regard I have for you, and to satisfy the pleasure I take in 
writing to you every moment, which is the sole comfort I 
have now left. To-day I am shut up by myself in my room, 
through excess of ill-humor. I am weary of every thing. I 
took a pleasure in dining here, and still a greater one in 
writing to vou out of season. Alas ! you have none of these 
leisure moments ! I write quite at my ease, but can hardly 
suppose you will be able to read what I write in the same 
manner. I do not see how it is possible for you to be a min- 
ute by yourself. On one side I behold a husband who adores 
you, who is never tired of being with you, and who scarcely 
knows the end of his happiness ; on the other side, harangues, 
compliments, visits, and honors paid you without end; all 
this must be answered. Indeed, you have enough upon your 
hands. I could not bear it myself in my little circle. But 
what became of your favorite Indolence amid all this noise 
and bustle ? It suffers now ; it retires into a corner, just 
dead with apprehension of losing its place in your heart for- 
ever ; it seeks some vacant moment to put you in remem- 
brance, and just drop a word to you by the by. u Alas !" it 
says, " and have you then forgotten me ? Remember, I am 
your oldest acquaintance ; the friend that has never abandoned 
you ; the faithful companion of your happy hours, who made 
you amends for the want of every pleasure, and for whose 
sake you have sometimes hated them. It was I that prevented 
your dying of the vapors while you were in Brittany. Some- 
times, indeed, your mother would break in upon our joys, 
but then I knew where to have you again. Now I know not 
what will become of me. These shows, all this pageantry, 
will be my death, unless you take some care of me." Me- 
thinks I hear you speak a kind word to it as you go by ; you 
give it some hopes of possessing you when at Grignan ; but 
you are gone in an instant, and can not find time to say more. 
Duty and reason are with you, and allow you not a moment's 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 35 

repose ; I, who have always so highly honored these person- 
ages, am now quite out with them, and they with me. How 
then will they permit you to waste your time in reading such 
trifles as these ? I assure you, my dear child, I am continu- 
ally thinking of you ; and I experience every day the truth of 
what you once told me, that there are certain thoughts which 
are not to he dwelt upon, but passed over as lightly as pos- 
sible, unless we would be forever in tears. This is my case : 
for there is not a place in the house which does not give a 
stab to my heart when I see it ; but your room especially 
deals a deadly blow from every part of it. I have placed a 
screen in the middle of it, that I may at least take something 
from the prospect. As for the window from which I saw 
you get into D'Hacqueville's coach, and then called you back 
again, I shudder every time I think how near I was throwing 
myself out of it after you. I was likely enough to have done 
it, for at times I am not in my senses. The closet where I 
held you last in my arms, without knowing what I did ; the 
Capuchins, where I used to go to mass ; the tears that fell so 
fast from my eyes that they wetted the ground, as if water 
had been thrown on it ; Saint Mary's, Madame de la Fayette, 
my return to the house, your room, that night, the next morn- 
ing, your first letter, and every one since, and still every day, 
and every conversation of those who feel with me, are so 
many remembrancers of my loss. Poor D'Hacqueville holds 
the first rank ; I shall never forget the compassion he showed 
me, These are the thoughts incessantly uppermost ; yet these 
are to be passed over, it seems ; we are not to abandon our 
selves to our thoughts, and the emotions of our heart. 1 
had rather, however, continue my reveries on the kind of life 
you are leading. It occasions a sort of diversion, without 
making me abandon my principal, my beloved object. I do 
then think of you. I am always wishing for letters from 
you. One wish of this nature, when gratified, is followed by 
another continually. I am in this state of expectation now, an<\ 
shall go on with my letter when I have received one from you 



36 LETTERS TO 

LETTER V. 

Paris, "Wednesday, March 18, 16V 1. 

I have received two packets at once, which have been de- 
layed for a considerable time. By these I am at length in- 
formed from yourself, of your entry into Aix, but you do not 
mention whether your husband was with you, or in what 
manner Vardes honored your triumph ; but you describe the 
triumph itself very humorously, as well as the embarrassment 
you were under, and your many misplaced civilities. I wish 
that I had been with you ; not that I should have done better 
than yourself, for I have not so good a gift of fixing names 
upon faces — on the contrary, I daily commit a thousand blun- 
ders in that way — but I think I could have been of some as- 
sistance to you, at least I should have made courtesies enough. 
It is true, that such a multiplicity of ceremonies and attentions 
is very tiresome. You should, nevertheless, endeavor not to 
be deficient in any of these points, but accommodate yourself, 
as much as possible, to the customs and the manners of those 
among whom you are to live. 

An event has just taken place, which engrosses the whole 
conversation of Paris. The king has ordered Monsieur de 

S to resign his post, and to quit Paris immediately. Can 

you guess the reason ? For having cheated at play, and won 
upward of five hundred thousand crowns with false cards ! 
The man who made these cards was examined by the king 
himself; he denied the fact at first; but, upon his majesty's 
promising him a pardon, he confessed that he had followed 
the trade for a long time. It is said that the affair will not 
rtop here, for that there are several houses which he used to 
furnish with these cards. It was some time before the kins: 
**mld prevail upon himself to disgrace a man of Monsieur de 

S 7 s quality ; but as, for several months past, every body 

that had played with him had been in a manner ruined, he 
thought he could not in conscience do less than bring such a 
scene of villainy to light. S was so perfectly master of 



MADAME DE GBIONAN. 37 

his adversaries' game, that he always made sept et le va upon 
the queen of spades, because he knew the spades lay all in the 
other packs. The king as constantly lost one-and-thirty upon 
clubs, and used to say, clubs never win against spades in 
this country. This man had given thirty pistoles to Madame 
de la Valliere's valets de chambre to throw all the cards they 
had in the house into the river, in the pretense that they were 
not good, and had introduced his own card-maker. He was 
first led into this fine way of life by one Pradier, who has 

since disappeared. Had S known himself innocent, he 

would immediately have delivered himself up, and insisted 
upon taking his trial ; but, instead of this, he took the road to 
Languedoc, as the surest way of the two ; many, however, ad- 
vised him to take a journey to La Trappe,* after such a mis- 
fortune. 

Madame d'Humieres has charged me with a thousand good 
wishes for you. She is going to Lille, where she will receive 
as many honors as you did at Aix. Marshal Bellefond, 
through a pure motive of piety, has settled with his creditors. 
He has given up to them the principal part of his property, 
besides half the profits of his post,f to complete the payment 
of the arrears. This is a noble action, and shows that his 
visits to La Trappe have not been without effect. I went the 
other day to see the Duchess of Ventadour ; she was as hand- 
some as an angel. The Duchess of Nevers came in, with her 
head dressed very ridiculously. You may believe me, for you 
know I am an admirer of fashion. Martin had cropped her 
to the very extremity of the mode. 

Your brother is at St. Germain ; he divides his time with 
Ninon, a young actress,! and, to crown the whole, Despreaux. 
We lead him a sad life. 

* La Trappe is a society of religious monks, remarkable for the 
austerity of their lives, and the severe discipline practiced among them. 

f That of chief maitre d'hotel, or master cf the household, to the 
king. 

X Called la ChampSlee. 



38 LETTERS TO 

LETTER VI. 

Paris, Friday, AprL l r 16*71. 
I returned yesterday from St. Germain with Madame d'Ar- 
pajon. Every one at court inquired after you; among the 
rest, it will not be amiss, I think, to distinguish the queen, 
who accosted me, and asked how my daughter was after her 
affair upon the Rhone. I returned her majesty thanks for the 
honor she did you in remembering you. She then desired 
me to tell her in what manner you had like to have been lost ; 
I accordingly gave her an account of your crossing the river 
in a storm of wind, and that a sudden gust had thrown you 
under an arch, within an inch of one of the piles, which if 
you had once touched, all the world could not have saved 
you. But, says the queen, " Was her husband with her ?" 
" Yes, madam, and the coadjutor too." " Really," said she, 
" they were greatly to blame." She gave two or three alasses ! 
while I was talking to her, and said many obliging things of 
you. Afterward a number of ladies came in, and among the 
rest the young Duchess of Ventadour, very fine and very 
handsome ; it Avas some time before they brought her the 
divine tabouret ;* " Ah," said I, turning to the grand master,f 
" why do they not give it to her, she has purchased it dearly 
enough ?"J He was of my opinion. In the midst of a silence 
in the circle, the queen turned to me, and asked me who my 
granddaughter was like? "M. de Grignan, madam," replied 
I. Upon which her majesty exclaimed, " Indeed ! I am sorry 
for it ;" and added, in a low tone of voice, " She had better 
have resembled her mother or grandmother." So you see 
how much I am indebted to you in making my court. 
Marshal Bellefond made me promise to distinguish him from 

* The tabouret is a stool to sit on in the presence of the queen, a 
privilege never enjoyed but by ladies of the first quality. 

f The Count de Lude, grand master of the artillery. 

\ Monsieur de Yentadour was not only very ugly and deformed, but, 
at the same time, a great debauchee. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 39 

the crowd. I made your compliments to Monsieur and Ma- 
dame Duras, and to Messieurs de Charot and Montausier, and 
tutti quanti, not to forget the dauphin and mademoiselle, who 
both talked a great deal to me about you. I likewise saw 
Madame de Ludre ; she accosted me with an excess of civility 
and kindness that surprised me, and talked in the most affec- 
tionate manner of you, when all on a sudden, as I was going 
to make her a suitable answer, I found she was not attending 
to me, and saw her fine eyes wandering round the room. I 
presently perceived it, and those who saw I took notice of it 
were pleased with me, and could not help laughing. 

I have been extremely diverted with our hurly-burly head- 
dresses ; some of them looked as if you could have blown 
them oft" their shoulders. Ninon* said that La Choiseul was 
as like the flaunting hostess of an inn, as one drop of water to 
another ; a most excellent simile ! But that Ninon is a dan- 
gerous creature ; if you only knew how she argues upon re- 
ligion it would make you shudder. Her zeal to pervert the 
minds of young people is much the same as that of a certain 
gentleman of St. Germain, that we saw once at Livri. She 
says your brother has all the simplicity of the dove, that he is 
just like his mother ; but that Madame de Grignan has all 
the fire of the family, and has more sense than to be so docile. 
A certain person would have taken your part, and put her out 
of conceit with you on that head, but she bid him hold his 
tongue, and told him that she knew more of the matter than 
he did. What a depravity of taste ! Because she knows you 
to be handsome and witty, she must needs saddle you with 
the other qualification, without which, according to her rule, 
there is no being perfect. I am greatly concerned for the 
harm she does my son in this point ; but do not take any no- 
tice of it to him. Madame de la Fayette and I use all our 
endeavors to disengage him from so dangerous an attachment. 
Besides her, he has a little actress,f and all the players of the 

* Ninon de l'Enclos, famous for her wit and free-thinking. 
f La Champelee. 



40 LETTERS TO 

town upon his hands, to whom he gives suppers ; in short, he 
is perfectly infatuated. You know what a joke he makes of 
Mascaron. I fancy your Minim* would suit him. I never 
read any thing more diverting than what you wrote to me 
about that man ; I read it to Monsieur de la Rochefoucault, 
who laughed heartily at it. He desires me to tell you, that 
there is a certain apostle who is running up and down after 
his rib, which he would fain appropriate to himself, as a part 
of his goods and chattels ; but, unluckily for him, he is not 
clever at enterprise. I fancy Mellusina is fallen into some pit, 
we do not hear a single word about her. M. de la Rochefou- 
cault says besides, that if he was only thirty years younger, he 
should certainly have a great inclination for M. de Grignan's 
third rib.f That part of your letter, where you say he has 
already had two of his ribs broken, made him laugh heartily ; 
we always wish for some oddity or other to divert you, but 
we very much doubt whether this has not turned out rather 
more to your satisfaction than ours. After all, we pity you 
extremely, in not having the word of God preached in a suit- 
able manner. Ah, that Bourdaloiie ! his sermon on the 
Passion was, they say, the most perfect thing of the kind that 
can be imagined ; it was the same he preached last year, but 
revised and altered with the assistance of some of his friends, 
that it might be wholly inimitable ; how can one love God, if 
one never hears him properly spoken of? you must really 
possess a greater portion of grace than others. We went the 
other day to hear the Abbe Montmort ;J I never heard a pret- 
tier sermon for so young a beginner. I wish you had such a 
one in the room of your Minim. He made the sign of the 
cross, and gave out his text; he did not anathematize his 
audience, he did not load us with abuse ; he told us not to be 
under any apprehensions concerning death, since it was the 
only passage we had to a glorious resurrection with Jesus 

* The priest who preached at Grignan. 

f That is, to Mme. de Grignan, who was M. de Grignan's third wife. 

% Afterward Bishop of Bayonne. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 41 

Christ. We agreed with him in this, and every one went 
away contented. He has nothing offensive in his manner ; he 
imitates Monsieur d'Agen without copying him ; he has a 
modest confidence, is learned, and pious. In short, I was 
highly pleased with him. 



LETTER VII. 

Paris, Friday, April 10, 1671. 
I wrote to you on Wednesday by the post, yesterday by 
Magalotti, and to-day again by the post ; but last night I lost 
a charming opportunity. I went to walk at Vincennes, en 
Troche* and by the way met with a string of galley-slaves ; 
they were going to Marseilles, and will be there in about a 
month. Nothing could have been surer than this mode of 
conveyance, but another thought came into my head, which 
was to go with them myself. There was one Duval among 
them, who appeared to be a conversible man. You will see 
them when they come in, and I suppose you would have 
been agreeably surprised to have seen me in the midst of 
the crowd of women that accompany them. I wish you 
knew of what importance the words Provence, Marseilles, Aix, 
are become to me ; even the Rhone, that devilish Rhone, and 
Lyons, are something to me. Brittany and Burgundy appear 
like places under the pole, in which I take no sort of inter- 
est. I may say with Coulanges, " O, the surprising power of 
my orvietan !" Really, my child, it was admirable in you to 
desire the abbef to prevent my sending you any more pres- 
ents ! What nonsense ! Do I in reality make you any ? 
You call the newspapers I send you by that name. You 
never can divest me of the desire of thus giving; :t is the 
most sensible pleasure I can enjoy. You should rather re- 

* With her friend, Madame de la Troche. 

f The Abbe de Coulanges, who lived with his niece, Madame de 
Sevigne. 



42 LETTERS TO 

joice with me, if I indulged myself more frequently in it. 
The method you took of thanking me was highly pleasing 
to me. 

Your letters are excellent ; one might venture to say they 
were not dictated by the good ladies of the country where 
you reside. I find that M. de Grignan, to his other connec- 
tions with you, adds that of being your companion ; he seems 
to me the only one who understands you. Be careful to pre- 
serve the happiness of his heart by the tenderness of yours, 
and consider that if you do not both love me, each accord- 
ing to your proper degree of estimation, you will be the 
most ungrateful of beings. The new opinion, that there is 
no such thing as ingratitude in the world, appears to me, 
for the reasons which we have so frequently discussed, like the 
philosophy of Descartes, and the contrary one like that of 
Aristotle. You know the deference I always paid to the 
authority of the latter ; it is the same with respect to my 
opinion of ingratitude. I should pronounce you then, my 
child, to be a little ungrateful wretch ; but, happily, and the 
idea constitutes all my comfort, I know you to be incapable 
of such conduct, and I therefore yield without reserve to the 
feelings of my heart. Adieu, my dearest love, I am going 
to close this letter. I shall write you another to-night, in 
which I shall give you an account of the occurrences of the 
day. We are every day in hopes of letting your house ; you 
may suppose I can forget nothing that relates to you ; I 
am as interested in your affairs as the most selfish being 
ever was in his own. 



LETTER VHI. 



Friday night, April 10, 1671. 
I make up my packet at Monsieur de la Rochefoucault's, 
who embraces you very heartily ; he is delighted with your 
answer about the canons and Father Desmares. There is 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 43 

some pleasure m sending you these trifles, you answer them 
so prettily. He begs you to be assured that you still live 
strongly in his remembrance, and that if he bears any thing 
worth your notice he will certainly communicate it to you. 
He is at his Hotel de Rochefoucault, having no longer any 
hopes of recovering the use of his feet ; he talks of going to 
the waters ; I am for sending him to Digne, others to Bour- 
bon. I dined en Bavardin* and in so complete a style that 
I thought we should have died. We did not talk, merely, as 
we used to do ; we did nothing but chatter. 

Brancas was overturned the other day into a ditch, where 
he found himself so much at his ease, that he asked those 
who came to help him out if they had any occasion for his 
services. His glasses were all broken, and his head w T ould 
have been so, too, if he had not been more lucky than wise ; 
but all this did not seem to have destroyed his reverie in the 
least. I wrote this morning to let him know he had been 
overturned, and was very near breaking his neck, as I sup- 
posed he was the only person in Paris who was ignorant of 
it ; and that I took the opportunity of expressing the concern 
it gave me. I expect his answer. 



LETTER IX. 

From Monsieur De la Rochefoucault's, 
Friday evening, April 24, 1671. 

Here, then, I make up my packet. I had intended to tell 
you that the king arrived yesterday evening at Chantilly : 
he hunted a stag by moonlight ; the lamps did wonders ; the 
fire-works were a little eclipsed by the brightness of our se- 
rene friend, the moon ; but the evening, the supper, and the 
entertainment, went off admirably well. The weather we had 
yesterday gave us hopes of an end worthy of so fine a begin- 

* That is, at Madame de Lavardin's, who was extremely fond of 
news. 



44 LETTERS TO 

ning. But what do you think I learned when I came here ? 
I am not yet recovered, and hardly know what I write. 
Vatel, the great Vatel, late maitre-d'hotel to M. Fouquet, and 
in that capacity with the prince, a man so eminently distin- 
guished for taste, and whose abilities were equal to the gov- 
ernment of a state — this man, whom I knew so well, finding, 
at eight o'clock this morning, that the fish he had sent for 
did not come at the time he expected it, and unable to bear 
the disgrace that he thought would inevitably attach to him, 
ran himself through with his own sword. Guess what con- 
fusion so shocking an accident must have occasioned. Think, 
too, that perhaps the fish might come in just as he was ex- 
piring. I know no more of the affair at present, and I sup- 
pose you think this enough. I make no doubt the consterna- 
tion was general ; it must be very disagreeable to have so 
fatal an event break in upon an entertainment that cost fifty 
thousand crowns. 

Monsieur De Menars is to be married to Mademoiselle De 
la Grange-Neuville ; but I do not know how I can have the 
heart to speak to you about any thing but Vatel. 



LETTER X. 

Paris, Sunday, April 26, 16U. 
This is Sunday, April 26th, and this letter will not go 
out till Wednesday; but it is not so much a letter as a 
narrative that I have just learned from Moreuil, of what 
passed at Chantilly with regard to poor Vatel. I wrote to 
you last Friday that he had stabbed himself — these are the 
particulars of the affair : The king arrived there on Thurs- 
day night ; the walk, and the collation, which was served in 
a place set apart for the purpose, and strewed with jonquils, 
were just as they should be. Supper was served, but there 
was no roast meat at one or two of the tables, on account of 
Vatel's having been obliged to provide several dinners more 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 45 

than were expected. This affected his spirits, and he was 
heard to say, several times : " I have lost my honor ! I can 
not bear this disgrace r " My head is quite bew.ldered," 
said he to Gourville. " I have not had a wink of sleep these 
twelve nights ; I wish you would assist me in giving orders." 
Gourville did all he could to coinfort and assist him ; but the 
failure of the roast meat (which, however, did not happen at 
the king's table, but at some of the other twenty-five), was 
always uppermost with him. Gourville mentioned it to the 
prince, who went directly to Vatel's apartment, and said to 
him : " Every thing is extremely well conducted, Vatel ; noth- 
ing could be more admirable than his majesty's supper." 
" Your highness's goodness," replied he, " overwhelms me ; 
I am sensible that there was a deficiency of roast meat at 
two tables." " Not at all," said the prince ; " do not perplex 
yourself, and all will go well." Midnight came : the fire- 
works did not succeed, they were covered with a thick cloud ; 
they cost sixteen thousand francs. At four o'clock in the 
morning Vatel went round and found every body asleep ; he 
met one of the under-purveyors, who was just come in with 
only two loads of fish. " What !" said he, " is this all ?" 
" Yes, sir," said the man, not knowing that Vatel had dis- 
patched other people to all the sea-ports around. Vatel wait- 
ed for some time ; the other purveyors did not arrive ; his 
head grew distracted ; he thought there was no more fish to 
be had. He flew to Gourville : " Sir," said he, " I can not 
outlive this disgrace." Gourville laughed at him. Vatel, 
however, went to his apartment, and setting the hilt of his 
sword against the door, after two ineffectual attempts, suc- 
ceeded in the third, in forcing his sword through his heart 
At that instant the carriers arrived with the fish ; Vatel was 
inquired after to distribute it. They ran to his apartment, 
knocked at the door, but received no answer, upon which 
they broke it open, and found him weltering in his blood. 
A messenger was immediately dispatched to acquaint the 
prince with what had happened, who was like a man in de- 



46 LETTERS TO 

spair. The duke wept, for his Burgundy journey depended 
upon Vatel. The prince related the whole affair to his maj- 
esty with an expression of great concern ; it was considered 
as the consequence of too nice a sense of honor ; some 
blamed, others praised him for his courage. The king said 
he had put off this excursion for more than five years, because 
he was aware that it would be attended with infinite trouble, 
and told the prince that he ought to have had but two tables, 
and not have been at the expense of so many, and declared 
he would never suffer him to do so again ; but all this was 
too late for poor Vatel. However, Gourville attempted to sup- 
ply the loss of Vatel, which he did in great measure. The 
dinner was elegant, the collation was the same. They supped, 
they walked, they hunted ; all was perfumed with jonquils, 
all was enchantment. Yesterday, which was Saturday, the 
same entertainments were renewed, and in the evening the 
king set out for Liancourt, where he had ordered a media* 
noche ;* he is to stay there three days. This is what Moreuil 
has told me, hoping I should acquaint you with it. I wash 
my hands of the rest, for I know nothing about it. M. 
D'Hacqueville, who was present at the scene, will, no doubt, 
give you a faithful account of all that passed ; but, because 
his hand-writing is not quite so legible as mine, I write too ; 
if I am circumstantial, it is because, on such an occasion, I 
should like circumstantiality myself. 



LETTER XI. 

Monday, May 18, 16U. ) 
Just going to set out. f 

At last, my dear child, I am just ready to step into my 
carriage : there ! — I am in — adieu ! I never shall use that 
word to you without real grief. I am now on my way for 

* Media-noche is a flesh-meal just after midnight, among the Ro- 
man Catholics. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 47 

Brittany. Is it possible that any thing can increase the dis- 
tance between us, when we are already separated from each 
other more than two hundred leagues ? But so it is ; I have 
found a way to complete it ; and as you thought your town 
of Aix not quite far enough from me, I also, look upon Paris 
as too much in your neighborhood. You went to Marseilles 
to fly me, and I, to pay you in your own coin, am going to 
Vitre. But to be serious, my dear, our correspondence will 
suffer by this ; it used to be a great source of consolation and 
amusement to me. Alas ! what shall I have to say to you 
from the midst of my woods ? I shall have nothing to enter- 
tain you with but accounts of Mademoiselle du Plessis and 
Jaquine ;* charming subjects these ! I am very happy in 
what you tell me of your health, but, in the name of God, if 
you have any love for me, take care of yourself; do not dance, 
do not fall, take a good deal of rest, and, above all things, ar- 
range your plans so as to lie-in at Aix, where you may have 
the best and the most timely assistance. You know how ex- 
peditious you are on those occasions ; be sure to have every 
thing ready rather too soon than too late. Good Heavens ! 
what shall I not suffer at that period ! 

You relate the dispute you had with our friend Vivonne 
very agreeably. I think the fault lies entirely on his side. 
You laid a famous trap in which you caught him completely. 
His confusion made me sweat for him, and he did so himself, 
I dare say ; but in the end you made it up and embraced him ! 
a greatf undertaking that, for one in your situation. If your 
quarrels must end thus, you ought to have no quarrels not 
enemies upon your hands. 

* A pretty servant girl of Madame de Sevigne's at her house in 
Brittany. 

\ Monsieur de Yivonne was remarkable for his great bulk. 



48 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XII. 



From the Rocks,* Sunday, May 31, 1611. 

At last, my child, I am at the Rocks. Can I behold these 
walks, can I view these ornaments, this little closet, these 
books, these rooms, and not die with grief?' Some recollec- 
tions are agreeable, but there are others again so lively and so 
tender that they are hardly supportable ; such are mine with 
respect to you. And you may easily guess the effect this is 
likely to produce in a heart like mine. 

If you continue pretty well, my dear child, I believe I shall 
not come to you till next year. Brittany and Provence are 
not very compatible ; long journeys are strange things. If we 
were always to continue in the same mind we are in at the 
end of a journey, we should never stir from the place we were 
then in ; but Providence, in kindness to us, causes us to forget 
it. It is much the same with lying-in women. Heaven per- 
mits this forgetfulness that the world may be peopled, and 
that folks may take journeys to Provence. Mine, therefore, 
will afford me the greatest joy I ever received in my life, but 
how cruel a thought is it to see no end to your stay there ! I 
more and more admire and applaud your prudence, though, 
to tell you the truth, I am greatly affected with this impossi- 
bility ; but I hope time will make us see things in a different 
light. We must always live in hope ; without that consola- 
tion there would be no living. I sometimes pass such mel- 
ancholy moments in the woods, that I return as changed as 
one just out of a fever. I fancy you pass your time pretty 
well at Marseilles. Do not fail to tell me how you were re- 
ceived at Grignan. The people here had designed to make a 
kind of triumphal entry for my son ; Vaillant had drawn out 
near fifteen hundred men under arms, very well dressed, with 
new ribbons round their necks, and had marched them within 
a league of the Rocks. But guess what happened ! Our 

* The name of Madame de Sevigne's estate in Brittany. 



MADAME DEGRIGNAN. 49 

abbe bad written word tbat we sbould be tbere on Tuesday, 
and afterward forgot to mention it to us. Accordingly these 
poor people were waiting under arms the whole day till ten 
o'clock at night, when they returned home very much cha- 
grined at their disappointment; and behold the next day, 
which was Wednesday, we came in as quiet and peaceable as 
lambs, without dreaming that a little army had been drawn 
out to receive us ! We were a good deal vexed at this mis- 
take, but there was no remedy ; so much for our first setting 
out. Mademoiselle du Plessis is just as you left her. She 
has formed a new acquaintance at Vitre that she plumes her- 
self mightily upon, because she is a great genius, has read all 
the romances, and, more than that, has had two letters from 
the Princess de Tarante. I was wicked enough to set Vaillant 
upon telling her that I was jealous of this new friend of hers, 
and that, when I heard of their intimacy, it had given me the 
greatest uneasiness, though I had taken no notice of it to her. 
It requires the pen of a Moliere to describe all she says upon 
the occasion ; and it is highly amusing to see how artfully 
she manages me, and with what care she avoids speaking of 
my supposed rival before my face ; I too play my part very 
well. My little trees are grown surprisingly ; Pilois* is rais- 
ing their stately heads to the clouds. In short, nothing can 
be more beautiful than these walks, which you first saw 
planted. You may remember I once gave you a little device 
which was thought very suitable. Here is a motto I wrote 
the other day upon a tree, which I intend for my son, who is 
just returned from Candia. Vago difama.\ Is it not pretty, 
notwithstanding its conciseness ? Yesterday I had another 
inscribed in honor of the idlers, Bella cosafar niente!\ Ah ! 
my dear child, what a wild romantic air my letters have ! 
What is become of the time when I used to talk of Paris like 
other people \ Now you will hear of nothing but myself; and, 
to show you what confidence I have in your affection, I am 

* The gardener at the Roeks. f Anxious for fame. 

% "What a fine thing it is to do nothing. 

3 



50 LETTERS TO 

persuaded this will be the most agreeable intelligence I can 
give you. I am highly pleased with my company here. Our 
abbe is at all times an excellent companion. La Mousse and 
my son are satisfied with me, and I with them. We always 
seek one another ; and if business at any time takes me from 
them, they are at their wit's end, and think it very odd in me 
to prefer a farmer's account to a tale of La Fontaine's. They 
are all passionately in love with you. I fancy you will hear 
from them soon. I choose however to be beforehand with 
them, for I do not love talking to you in a crowd. My dear- 
est child, will you always love me ? my life depends upon 
your affection ! That, as I told you the other day, constitutes 
all my joy and all my sorrow. 



LETTER XIH. 



The Eocks, Wednesday, June 10, 16T1. 
I am going to entertain you to-day, my dear child, with 
what is called rain and fine weather. I had not your letters 
till Friday, and I answered them the Sunday following. I 
begin then with the rain, for fair weather is out of the ques- 
tion. For this week past it has rained incessantly ; I say in- 
cessantly — for the rain has only been interrupted by storms. 
I can not stir abroad, my workmen are all dispersed, and I am 
devoured with melancholy ; La Mousse, too, is very low-spirited. 
We read, indeed, and that just keeps us alive. My son is 
gone to Rennes, whither we thought it necessary to send him, 
to pay a visit to the first president, and several other friends 
that I have there ; if he has time, I shall prevail on him to go 
and see Monsieur de Coesquen ; he is old enough now for 
these things. There was a ball at Vitre again on Sunday. I 
very much fear that my son will become too fond of the com- 
pany of ten or a dozen men that supped with him the other 
night at the castle of Sevigne ; they may be borne with, but 
he should be very cautious of forming too great an intimacy 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 51 

with them. A dispute arose between two of the party about 
some trifle or other ; the lie was given ; to it they went ; the 
company endeavored to part them ; there was a great deal of 
talk and very little sense ; however, monsieur le marquis* had 
the honor of making up the difference, and afterward set out 
for Rennes. There have been great cabals at Vitre : Made- 
moiselle de Croqueoison complains that, at a ball the other day, 
Mademoiselle du Cerni did not offer her part of some oranges 
she had. We must hear what Mademoiselle du Plessis and 
the Launayes have to say on this subject, as they know all the 
circumstances relating to it. As to Mademoiselle du Plessis, 
she lets all her affairs at Vitre run to ruin, because she w T ill 
not stir in them, from the fear of making me jealous on ac- 
count of her new friend ; and it was but the other day that, to 
make me quite easy, she said as many ill-natured things of 
her as she could. When it is fine weather, this nonsense 
makes me laugh, but when it is bad and gloomy, I could give 
her a box on the ear, as you once did. Madame de Coulanges 
writes me word that she has heard nothing of Brancas, except 
that out of his six coach-horses he has only one left, and that 
he was the last person to discover it. I hear no news. Our 
little Alegre is at her mother's, and it is thought that M. de 
Seignelai is to be married to her. I suppose you are in want 
of persons to furnish you with intelligence ; for my part, I 
despise trivial occurrences ; I am only for those that surprise 
and astonish ; such a one I met with this very morning while 
the abbe and I were in his study together. We found, in 
reckoning with those counters of his which are so good, that 
with all that has fallen to me, I ought to be worth 530,000 
livres.f Do you know that what our dear abbe has left me 
will not amount to less than 80,000 francs ? And do you 
think I am not impatient to be in possession ? And 100,000 
francs from Burgundy ; this has come since you were married, 
the rest, viz.: 100,000 crowns by my marriage; 100,000 

* Meaning her son, the Marquis of Sevigne. 

f Upward of 20,000Z. sterling, reckoning a livre at lOd. halfpenny. 



52 LETTERS TO 

crowns since by M. de Chalons, and 20,000 francs, in little 
legacies, from one or two of my uncles ; but do you not won- 
der whither my pen is running with me ? I should do much 
better to tell you what I suffer every day, when I reflect in 
what places Providence has destined us to pass our lives. 
This is a continual source of uneasiness to me, but let it not 
be so to you ; you have not the same reason ; you are with a 
husband that adores you, and in the midst of honors and 
splendor ; but endeavor, if possible, to work some miracle ia 
your affairs, so that your return to Paris may be retarded only 
by the duties of your post, and not from necessity. It is very 
easy to talk thus ; I wish it was as easily carried into execu- 
tion, and wishes are not forbidden us. They write me word 
that Madame de Valavoire is at Paris, and that she is forever 
talking of your beauty, politeness, wit, talents, and, in short, 
of the new he&d-dress you have invented, which it seems you 
have executed in as good a style as if you had been in the 
midst of the court. Madame de la Troche and I have at least 
the honor of having described it so well as to put you in the 
way of performing these wonders. She is at Paris still, that 
La Troche. She is going to her own house about the latter 
end of this month. As for me, I do not know what the States 
intend doing; but I fancy I shall run away for fear of being 
ruined. It is a mighty pretty thing to put myself to the ex- 
pense of near a thousand crowns in dinners and suppers, and 
all for the honor of keeping a summer-house for M. and 
Madame de Chaulnes, Madame de Rohan, M. de Lavardin, 
aad half Brittany, who, without knowing any thing of me, will, 
to be in the fashion, honor me with their company. Well, 
we shall see how it will turn out. I shall only regret leaving 
M. d'Harrouis and this house, before I have half finished my 
business. But, my dear child, the greatest inclination I have 
at present is to be a little religious. I plague La Mousse about 
it every day. I belong neither to God nor to the devil. I 
am quite weary of such a situation, though, between you and 
me, I look upon it as the most natural one in the world. 1 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 53 

am not the devil's, because I fear God, and have at the bottom 
a principle of religion ; then, on the other hand, I am not prop- 
erly God's, because his law appears hard and irksome to me, 
and I can not bring myself to acts of self-denial ; so that alto- 
gether I am one of those called lukewarm Christians, the 
great number of which does not in the least surprise me, for I 
perfectly understand their sentiments and the reasons that in- 
fluence them. However, we are told that this is a state highly 
displeasing to God ; if so, we must get out of it. Alas ! this 
is the difficulty. Was ever any thing so mad as I am, to be 
thus eternally pestering you with my rhapsodies ? My dear 
child, / ask excuse, as they say here ; but I must chat with 
you, it is so truly delightful to me. Be sure, however, not to 
return me an answer, only let me hear of your health, with a 
little spice of your sentiments, that I may see that you are 
happy, and that you like Grignan ; that is all. Love me ; 
though we have turned the world into ridicule, it is natural, it 
is good. 



LETTER XIV. 

The Rocks, Sunday, June 28, 1611. 
You have amply made up to me my late losses ; I have re- 
ceived two letters from you which have filled me with trans- 
ports of joy. The pleasure I take in reading them is beyond 
all imagination If I have in any way contributed to the im- 
provement of your style, I did it in the thought I wa3 labor- 
ing for the pleasure of others, not for my own. But Provi- 
dence, who has seen fit to separate us so often, and to place us 
at such immense distances from each other, has repaid me a 
little for the privations in the charms of your correspondence, 
and still more in the satisfaction you express in your situation, 
and the beauty of your castle ; you represent it to me with an 
air of grandeur and magnificence that enchants me. I once 
saw a similar account of it by the first Madame de Grignan ; 



54 LETTERS TO 

but I little thought, at that time, that all these beauties were 
one day to be at your command. I am very much obliged to 
you for having given me so particular an account of it. If I 
could be tired in reading your letters, it would not only be- 
tray a very bad taste in me, but would likewise show that I 
could have very little love or friendship for you. Divest your- 
self of the dislike you have taken to circumstantial details. 
I have often told you, and you ought yourself to feel the truth 
of this remark, that they are as dear to us from those we love, 
as they are tedious and disagreeable from others. If they are 
displeasing to us, it is only from the indifference we feel for 
those who write them. Admitting this observation to be true, 
I leave you to judge what pleasure yours afford me. It is a fine 
thing, truly, to play the great lady, as you do at present. I 
perfectly comprehend Monsieur de Grignan's feelings in seeing 
you so much admire his castle ; had you appeared insensible, 
or even indifferent, on the occasion, it would have given him 
a chagrin that I can conceive better perhaps than any other ; 
and I share in the pleasure he has in seeing you pleased. 
There are some hearts which sympathize for each other so 
truly, that they judge by themselves what others feel. You 
do not mention Vardes* often enough to me, nor poor Cor- 
binelli. Was it not very agreeable to you to be able to speak 

their language ? How goes on Vardes' love for the fair T ? 

Tell me whether he is much hurt by the infinite length of 
his banishment, or whether his philosophy, and a little dash of 
misanthropy, can support his heart against these vicissitudes 
of love and fortune. The books you read are well chosen. 
Petrarch must certainly give you a good deal of pleasure, es- 
pecially with the notes you have. Those of Mademoiselle de 
Scuderi on some of his sonnets, rendered them very agreeable. 
As for Tacitus, you know how much I was charmed with it, when 
we read it together here ; and how often I used to interrupt 

* The Marquis de Yardes was banished to Provence in 1665, for 
having been concerned in some court intrigues, and remained in exile 
till the year 1682. He was a man of amiable manners. 



MADAME DE GRIQNAN. 55 

you, to make you observe the periods, where I thought the 
harmony particularly striking. But if you stop half way I 
shall scold you ; it will be doing great injustice to the dignity 
of the subject, and I shall say to you, as a certain prelate did 
to the queen mother, " This is history ; you know what stories 
are already." A reluctance, in this respect, is only pardona- 
ble in romances, which I know you do not like. We read 
Tasso with pleasure, and I am a pretty good proficient in the 
language, from the excellent masters I have had. My son 
makes La Mousse read Cleopatra,* and I listen to him, 
whether I will or not, and am amused. My son is going to 
Lorraine ; we shall be very dull in his absence. You know 
how it vexes me to see the breaking up of an agreeable party, 
and how transported I am when I see a train of carriages 
driving off that have wearied me to death for a whole day ; 
upon which we made this just observation, that bad company 
is more desirable than good. I recollect all the odd things 
we used to say when you were here, and all you said yourself, 
and all you did ; your idea never leaves me ; and then again, 
on a sudden, I think where you are ; my imagination repre- 
sents to me an immense space, and a great distance ; on a 
sudden your castle bounds the prospect, and I am displeased 
at the walls that inclose your mall. Ours is surprisingly 
beautiful, and the young nursery is delightful. I take pleas- 
ure in rearing their little heads to the clouds, and frequently, 
without considering consequences or my own interest, cut 
down large trees, because their shade incommodes my young 
ones. My son views all these proceedings, but I do not allow 
him to interfere. Piloisf continues to be a very great favorite 
with me, and I prefer his conversation to that of many who 
have the title of chevalier in the parliament of Rennes. I am 
grown rather more negligent than you ; for the other day I 
let a coachful of the Fouesnelle family go home through a tre- 
mendous rain, for want of pressing them with a good grace to 

* A famous romance of La Calprenede's. f The gardener. 



56 LE TIERS TO 

stay ; but I could not get the compliment to pass my lips. It 
was not the two young women, but the mother, and an old 
woman from Kennes, and the two sons. Mademoiselle du 
Plessis is exactly as you represent her, only if possible, more 
impertinent. What she says and does every day to keep me 
from being jealous, is perfectly original, and I am quite pro- 
voked, sometimes, that I have nobody to laugh at it with me. 
Her sister-in-law is very pretty, without being ridiculous, and 
speaks Gascon in the midst of Brittany. I think you are very 
happy in having Madame de Simiane* with you ; she has a 
fund of knowledge that will relieve you from all kinds of re- 
straint; this is a great deal. You will have, too, a very 
agreeable companion in her. 

I now return to you, that is, to the divine fountain of Vau- 
cluse ! How beautiful ! Well might Petrarch make such 
frequent mention of it ! But, remember, I shall some day 
see all these wonders with my own eyes ; I, who have such a 
veneration for antiquities. I shall certainly be transported 
with them, and the magnificence of Grignan. The abbe will 
find employment enough there. After the Doric orders and 
splendid titles of your house, nothing is wanting but the or- 
der you are going to establish there ; for, let me tell you, 
without something substantial at the bottom, all is bitter- 
ness and anxiety. I have great pity for those who ruin 
themselves ; it is the only affliction in life that is felt alike 
by all, and which is increased, instead of being diminished, 
by time. I have frequent conversations on this subject with 
a certain friend of ours. If he has a mind to benefit by 
them, he has had opportunity enough to lay in a good stock, 
and of such a nature he need not forget them. I am glad 
that you are to have two of your brothers-in-law with you 
this autumn. I think you have planned your journey well. 
We can travel a great way without being fatigued, provided 
we have something to amuse us by the way, and do not lose 

* Magdelen Hai-du-Chatelet, wife to Charles Louis, Marquis of 
p *oiiane; she was afterward mother-in-law to Paulina de Grignan. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 57 

our courage. The return of fine weather has brought all my 
workmen back again, which is a great amusement to me. 
When I have company, I work at that fine altar-piece you 
saw me drawing when you were at Paris ; when I am alone, 
I read, I write, or am with the abbe in his closet upon busi- 
ness. I wish him with you sometimes, but it is for two or 
three days only. 

I consent to the commerce of wit which you propose. The 
other day I made a maxim off-hand, without once thinking of 
it, aud I liked it so well that I fancied I had taken it out of 
M. de la Rochefoucault's. Pray tell me whether it is so or 
not, for in that case my memory is more to be praised than 
iny judgment. I said, with all the ease in the world, that 
" ingratitude begets reproach, as acknowledgment begets new 
favors." Pray where did this come from ? Have I read it ? 
did I dream it \ is it my own idea ? Nothing can be truer 
than the thing itself, nor than that I am totally ignorant how 
I came by it. I found it properly arranged in my brain, and 
at the end of my tongue. As for that sentence, " bella cosa 
far niente" you will not think it so dull when I tell you it is 
intended for your brother : remember last winter's disaster. 
Adieu, my dearest child ; take care of yourself, continue 
handsome, dress well, amuse yourself, and take proper exer- 
cise. I have just been writing to Vivonne,* about a captain 
of a troop of Bohemians, whose confinement I have begged 
him to render as easy as possible, without detriment to the 
king's service. You must know that there was among the 
troop of Bohemiansf that I was mentioning to you the other 
day, a young girl who danced extremely well, and put me 
very much in mind of your manner. I was pleased with her. 
She begged me to write to Provence in favo" of her grand- 
father. " Where is he ?" said I. " He is at Ma"seilles," said 
she, with as much composure and unconcern as if she bad 
said, " He is at Vincennes." He was a man of singular 



* General of the galleys. f Gipseys. 

3* 



58 LETTERS TO 

merit, it seems, in his way ;* in short, I promised her to write 
about him ; I immediately thought of Vivonne. I send you 
my letter ; if you are not sufficiently upon terms with him 
to allow of my jesting with him, you may burn it ; if it is an 
ill- written letter you may burn it ; but if you are friendly 
with his corpulency, and my letter will save you the trouble 
of writing one, seal it and send it to him. I could not refuse 
this request to the poor girl, and to the best-danced minuet 
that I have seen since the days of Mademoiselle de Sevigne. 
She had just your air, was about your height, has good teeth, 
and fine eyes. Here is a letter of so enormous a length that 
I can easily forgive your not reading it through. Monsieur 
de Grignan can not conceive how one can possibly read such 
long letters ; but, in good earnest, can you read them in a 
day? 



LETTER XV. 

The Books, Sunday, July 5, 1671. 
It is a great proof of your love, my dear child, that you 
can bear with all the nonsense I send you from hence. You 
defend Mademoiselle de Croqueoison extremely well. In re- 
turn, I assure you there is not a single word in your letters 
that is not dear to me. I am afraid to read them for fear of 
ending them, and if it were not for the consolation that I can 
read them over as often as I please, I should make them last 
much longer ; but then, on the other hand, my impatience 
makes me ready to devour them. What should I do if your 
writing was as illegible as D'Hacqueville's ? Would the 
greatness of my affection help me to decipher it ? Really, I 
am afraid not ; but I have heard of such instances. In short, 
I greatly esteem D'Hacqueville, and yet I can not accustom 
myself to his handwriting ; I never can read his letters ; I 

* And had been condemned to the galleys for having distinguished 
himself rather too much in his Bohemian faculty. 



MADAME DEGRIGNAN. 59 

hunt out word by word ; I puzzle myself with guessing at 
them ; I say one word for another, and at last, when I can 
make neither head nor tail of it, away I fling the letter in a 
rage. But I tell you this as a secret, for I would not have 
him know that his letters give me all this trouble. He thinks, 
poor man, his hand is like print ; but you, who know the con- 
trary, tell me how you manage. My son set out yesterday, 
greatly concerned at parting with us. I endeavored to in- 
spire him with every good, just, and noble sentiment that I 
was mistress of, and to confirm all the good qualities I had 
remarked in him. He received my advice with all imagina- 
ble sweetness and marks of approbation ; but you know the 
weakness of human nature ; I leave him, therefore, in the 
hands of Providence, reserving to myself the comfort of hav- 
ing nothing to reproach myself with in regard to him. As 
he has a fund of wit and humor, we shall necessarily miss 
him extremely. We are going to begin a moral treatise of 
Nicole's. If I were at Paris I would send it to you ; I am 
sure you would admire it. We continue to read Tasso with 
pleasure. I am almost afraid to tell you that I am returned 
to Cleopatra ; and, by good fortune, the short memory I have 
makes it still pleasing to me. I have a bad taste, you will 
say ; but you know I can not affect a prudery which is not 
natural to me, and as I am not yet arrived at a- time of life 
that forbids the reading such works, I suffer myself to be 
amused with them, under the pretense that my son brought 
me into it. He used to read us some chapters, too, out of 
Rabelais, which were enough to make us die with laughing ; 
in return, he seemed to take a good deal of pleasure in talk- 
ing with me ; and, if he is to be believed, he will remember 
what I have said to him. I know him well, and can often 
discern good sentiments through all the levity of his conver- 
sation. If he is dismissed this autumn, we shall have him 
again. 

I have mentioned Launaye to you ; she was bedaubed the 
other day like a twelfth-day taper ; we thought she resembled 



60 LETTERS TO 

the second volume of a sorry romance, or the Romance of the 
Rose, exactly. Mademoiselle du Plessis is always at my 
elbow ; when I read the kind things you say of her, I am as 
red as fire. The other day La Biglesse played Tartuffe to the 
life. Being at table, she happened to tell a fib about some 
trifle or other, which I noticed, and told her of it ; she cast 
her eyes to the ground, and with a very demure air, " Yes, in- 
deed, madam," said she, " I am the greatest liar in the world ; 
I am very much obliged to you for telling me of it." We all 
burst out a-laughing, for it was exactly the tone of Tartuffe : 
" Yes, brother, I am a wretch, a vessel of iniquity." She at- 
tempts sometimes to be sententious, and gives herself airs of 
understanding which sit still worse upon her than her own 
natural way. There ! I think you know every thing about 
the Rocks. 



LETTER XVI. 



The Rocks, Sunday, July 12, 1671. 
I have received but one letter from you, my dear child, 
which vexes me ; I used generally to have two. It is a bad 
thing to use one's self to such dear and tender cares as yours ; 
there, is no being happy without them. If M. de Grignan's 
brothers come to you this summer, they will be good company 
for you. The coadjutor has been a little indisposed, but is 
now perfectly recovered ; he is incredibly lazy, and is the 
more to blame, as he can write extremely well when he sets 
about it. He has a great regard for you, and intends visiting 
you about the middle of August — he can not before. He pro- 
tests, but I believe it is false, that he has no branch to rest 
upon, which hinders him from writing, and makes his eyes 
ache. This is all I know about Seigneur Corbeau. How odd 
it is of me to tell you all this, when I do not know myself 
how I stand with him ! If you should know any thing of the 
matter, pray inform me. I reflect every hour of the day upon 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 61 

the times when I used to see you always about me, and am 
perpetually regretting the loss of those happy moments. Not 
that I can reproach my heart with having been insensible of 
the pleasure of your company ; for I solemnly protest to you, 
I never looked on you with the indifference or coolness that 
grows upon long acquaintance ; no, I can not reproach myself 
with that. What I regret is, that I did not see you so con- 
stantly as I could now wish I had, but suffered cruel business 
sometimes to tear me from you. It would be a fine thing to 
fill my letters with what fills my heart ; alas ! as you say, we 
should glide over many thoughts, without seeming to regard 
them. Here then I rest, and conjure you, if I am at all dear 
to you, to be particularly careful of your health. Amuse 
yourself, do not study too much, carry yourself safely through 
your pregnancy ; after that, if M. de Grignan really loves you, 
and is resolved not to kill you outright, I know what he will 
do, or rather what he will not do. 

Have you cruelty enough not to finish Tacitus ? Can you 
leave Germanieus in the midst of his conquests? If you 
really intend to serve him so paltry a trick, let me know where 
you leave off, and I will finish for you, which is all I can do 
to serve you at present. We have gone through Tasso, and 
with a great deal of pleasure ; we found beauties in him, that 
are unknown to those who are only half read in the language. 
We have begun our morality* it is of much the same nature 
as Pascal's. Talking of Pascal, I have taken into my head to 
almost adore those gentlemen, the postillions who are inces- 
santly carrying our letters backward and forward. There is 
not a day in the week, but they bring one either to you or to 
me ; there is one every day, and every hour of the day, upon 
the road. Kind-hearted people, how obliging it is of them ! 
What a charming invention is the post, and what a happy 
effect of Providence is the desire of gain ! I sometimes think 
of writing to them co show my gratitude ; and I believe I 
should have done it before, had I not remembered that chap- 

* M. Nicole's Moral Essays. 



62 LETTERS TO 

ter in Pascal, and been afraid that they might have perhaps 
thought proper to thank me for writing to them, as I thanked 
them for carrying my letters. Here is a fine digression for 
you. But to return to our reading. It was without preju- 
dice to Cleopatra that I laid a wager I would read it through ; 
you know how I support my wagers. I often wonder how I 
could like such ridiculous stuff; I can hardly comprehend it. 
You may perhaps remember enough of me to know how much 
a bad style displeases me ; that I have some taste for a good 
one, and that no person is more sensible to the charms of elo- 
quence. I well know how wretched La Calprenedre's style is 
in many places, on account of its long-winded periods, and 
bad choice of words. I wrote a letter to your brother in that 
style the other day, which was pleasant enough. However, 
though I find such glaring faults in Calprenedre, though I 
know how detestable that way of writing is, yet I can not leave 
it. The beauty of the sentiments, the violence of the passions, 
and the miraculous success of their redoubtable swords, en- 
tices me away like a child ; I become a party in all their designs, 
and if I had not the example of M. de la Rochefoucault and 
D'Hacqueville to comfort me, I should be ready to hang my- 
self for being guilty of such a weakness. You appear before 
me, and cry " Shame !" yet still I go on. I shall have great 
honor in being intrusted by you with the care of preserving 
you in the abbe's friendship. He loves you tenderly ; you are 
often the subject of our conversation, with your state, your 
grandeur, and so forth. He would not willingly die without 
having first taken a trip to Provence, and rendered you some 
service. I am told, that poor Madame de Monti uet is on the 
point of losing her senses ; she has been raving hitherto with- 
out once shedding a tear, but now she has a violent fever, and 
begins to cry. She says she will be damned, since her dear 
husband is inevitably so. We go on with our chapel. The 
weather is very hot ; but the mornings and evenings are de- 
lightful in the woods, and under the shade of the trees before 
the house. My apartment is extremely cool. I am afraid you 
suffer from the heat in Provence. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 



LETTER XVII. 



The Rocks, "Wednesday, August 19, 1671. 
You describe very humorously the disorder my perfumed 
paper occasioned you. Those who saw you read my letters 
must have thought I was dead, and could never imagine that 
they contained nothing but chit-chat. I am very far from 
correcting myself in the way you imagined. I shall always 
run into extremes in what is for your good, if it depends on 
me. I already began to think that my paper might do you 
harm, but I did not intend to change it till about November. 
However, I begin from this day, and for the future you will 
have nothing to guard against but the smell. 

You have a tolerable number of the Grignans with you ; 
the Lord deliver you from the aunt,* I feel her troublesome 
even here. The chevalier's sleeves must have had a curious 
effect at table ; but though they draw every thing along with 
them, I much question whether they would draw me ; fond as 
I am of fashion, I have a great aversion to slovenliness. Vitre 
would be a famous place for bim. I think I never saw such 
profusion before. There is not a table at court that can come 
up to the meanest of the twelve or fifteen that are constantly 
kept up here ; and, indeed, there is occasion for all this, for 
there are no less than three hundred people to be provided for, 
Ho have nowhere else to eat. I left this good town last Mon- 
day, after having made your compliments to Mme. de Chaulnes 
and Mme. de Murinais. Nothing could be more cordially re- 
ceived, or more warmly returned. All Brittany was drunk on 
that day. "We dined apart. Forty gentlemen dined in a lower 
room, each of whom drank forty toasts ; the king's was the first, 
and then the glasses were broken. All this was done under pre- 
tense of extreme joy and gratitude for a hundred thousand 
crowns which his majesty had remitted out of the free gift the 
province had made him, as a recompense for their having so 

* Ann d'Ornano, Countess of Harcourt, aunt to M. de Grignan. 



64 LETTERS TO 

cheerfully complied with his request. So now there is only 
two millions two hundred thousand livres, instead of five 
hundred thousand. The king, too, has written a letter with 
his own hand, full of the kindest expressions to his good prov- 
ince of Britany. This letter the governor read to the States 
assembled, and a copy of it was registered. Upon this they 
shouted Vive le roi ! and immediately fell to drinking ; and 
drink they did, God knows ! M. de Chaulnes did not for- 
get the gouvernante of Provence ; and a Breton gentleman 
going to toast you by your name, and not well remembering 
it, got up, and, in a loud voice, exclaimed, " Here is to Madame 
de Carignan? This ridiculous mistake made M. de Chaulnes 
laugh till the tears came into his eyes. The Bretons drank 
it, thinking it was right ; and, for a week to come, you will be 
nothing but Madame de Carignan ; some called you the Coun- 
tess of Carignan. This was the state of things when I left 
them. 

I have shown Pomenars what you say of him. He is highly 
delighted with it ; but I assure you he is so hardened and im- 
pudent, that once or twice in a day he makes the first presi- 
dent leave the room, to whom he is a mortal enemy, as well 
as to the procurator-general. Madame de Coetquen had just 
received the news of the death of her little girl, and fainted 
away. She is in great affliction, and says she shall never have 
so pretty a one. Her husband is quite inconsolable ; he is 
just returned from Paris, after having made matters up w T ith 
Le Bordage. This was a most extraordinary affair ; he has 
transferred all his resentments to M. de Turenne * I suppose 
you know nothing of this, but it fell unintentionally from my 
pen. There was a pretty ball on Sunday. We saw a girl of 
Lower Brittany who, they said, bore away the palm. She was 
the most ridiculous creature I ever saw, and threw herself into 
such attitudes as made us die with laughing. But there were 

* Glory, which is the last passion of the sage, was not the only pas- 
sion of Turenne ; for, at the age of sixty, he was in love with Madame 
de Coetquen. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN, 65 

other dancers, both men and women, that were really admir- 
able. 

If you ask me how I like my Rocks after all this hurry, I 
shall tell you that I am delighted to be here again. I shall 
stay for a week or ten days at least, in spite of their endeavors 
to get me back. I want rest more than I can describe to you. 
I want to sleep ; I want to eat, for I am starved at theae fetes. 
I want the fresh air ; I want silence, for I was attacked on all 
sides, and my lungs were almost worn out with talking. In 
short, my dear, I found our abbe, La Mousse, my dog, my mall, 
Philois, and my masons, all as I left them, and they are the 
only things that can do me any good in my present condition. 



LETTER XVin. 



The Rocks, Sunday, August 23, 1671. 
You were with the president of Charme's lady, then, when 
you wrote to me. Her husband was the intimate friend of 
Monsieur Fouquet. Am I right in this ? In short, my 
dear, you were not alone ; and M. de Grignan acted wisely 
in making you leave your closet to entertain your com- 
pany. He might, however, have spared his capuchin's beard, 
though he did not appear much the worse for it in your eyes, 
for when he was at Livri, with his bushy tuft,* you thought 
him handsomer than Adonis. I often repeat these four verses 
with admiration. It is surprising what an impression the re- 
membrance of any particular time makes upon the mind, 
whether good or bad. Sometimes I *hink of that delicious 
autumn ; and then again, when I reflect on the latter part of 
it, I sweat with horror ;f yet we ought to be thankful to Prov- 
idence, who delivered you out of the danger you were in. 

* Sa touffe ebouriffee. Part of a lout rime, filled up by Madame de 
Grignan. 

f On account of a miscarriage that Madame de Grignan had at 
Livri, the 4th November, 1669. 



66 LETTERS TO 

Your reflections upon the death of M. de Guise are admira- 
ble ; they have made me plow up my mall with my eyes ; for 
it is there I meditate with most pleasure. Poor La Mousse 
has been afflicted with the tooth-ache, so that for a long time 
I have walked alone till night, and thought of — God knows 
what I have not thought of. Do not be under apprehensions 
of my growing weary of solitude : set aside the ills that arise 
from my own heart, and against which I have not strength to 
struggle, and I am not to be pitied in any respect. I am of a 
happy temper ; I can accommodate myself to, and be pleased 
with any thing ; and I prefer my retirement here to all the 
noise and pageantry of Vitre. I have been here a week, and 
the tranquillity I have enjoyed has cured me of a dreadful 
cold. I have drank nothing but water ; have talked very lit- 
tle ; have left off suppers ; and by this method, without hav- 
ing shortened my walks, I am quite well again. Madame de 
Chaulnes, Madame de Murinais, Madame Fourche, and a very 
fine girl from Nantes, came here last Thursday. Madame de 
Chaulnes told me, as she came into my room, that she could 
exist no longer without seeing me ; that she had the weight 
of all Brittany upon her shoulders, and should die with fa- 
tigue. She then flung herself upon my bed ; we sat round 
her, and she was fast asleep in a minute, from mere fatigue, 
though we continued talking. At last she awoke, highly 
charmed with the ease and freedom we enjoy at the Rocks. 
We then took a walk. Afterward she and I sat down to rest 
ourselves in the center of the wood, and while the rest were 
diverting themselves at mall, I made her tell me how she 
came to marry M. de Chaulnes ; for I always love to fish out 
something by way of amusement ; but in the midst of our en- 
tertainment there came on just so treacherous a shower like 
the one you may remember at Livri, that we were nearly 
drowned. The water ran from our clothes in streams ; it 
came through the trees in a moment, and we were instantly 
wet to the skin. We ran as fast as we could, some scream- 
ing, others sliding, others falling. At last we got in, a roar- 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN, 67 

ing fire was made, we changed our dress from head to foot, I 
furnishing the whole wardrobe. We dried our shoes, and 
were ready to die with laughing all the while. In this man- 
ner was the gouvernante of Brittany treated in her own gov- 
ernment. After this we had a slight repast, and then the 
poor woman left us, more vexed, I dare say, at the part she 
had to play when she got home, than at the affront she 
had received here. She made me promise to relate this ad- 
venture to you, and to come and assist her to-morrow in enter- 
taining the States, which will break up in about a week. I 
engaged to do both ; of the one I now acquit myself, and of 
the other I shall acquit myself to-morrow, as I can not help 
showing her this civility. 



LETTER XIX. 



The Rocks, Wednesday, September 16, 1671. 
I am wicked to-day, my child. I am just in the same hu- 
mor as when you used to say, " You are wicked." I am very 
dull and spiritless : I have not heard from you. u Warm af- 
fections are never tranquil ;" a maxim. It rains ; we are quite 
alone ; in short, I wish you a pleasanter day than I am likely 
to have. What greatly perplexes the abbe, La Mousse, and 
the rest of my party, is, that there is no remedy for the evil. 
I want it to be Friday, that I may have a letter from you, and 
it is but Wednesday. This puzzles them. They do not 
know what to do for me in this case, for if, in the excess of 
their friendship, they were to assure me it was Friday, that 
would be still worse ; for if I had not a letter from you then, 
I should be lost to all reason. I am obliged to have patience ; 
though patience, you know, is a virtue that I am not much in 
the habit of practising ; but I shall be easy before three days 
have passed. I am very anxious to know how you are after 
your alarm. These alarms are my aversion ; for though I am 
not with child myself, they make me become so, that is, they 



68 LETTERS TO 

put me in a condition that entirely destroys my healthy 
However, my uneasiness does not at present reach so far ; for 
I am persuaded you have been prudent enough to keep your 
bed, and that will have set all matters right again. Do not 
tell me, that you will not let me know any thing about your 
health ; that would make me desperate, and having no longer 
any confidence in what you say, I should be always in the 
way I am in at present. We are, it must be owned, at a fine 
distance from each other, and if either of us had any thing 
upon the mind that required immediate relief, we should have 
plenty of time to hang ourselves in. 

I thought it necessary yesterday to take a small dose of 
morality, and I found myself a great deal the better for it ; 
and still more so for a little criticism on the Berenice of Ra- 
cine, which I thought very diverting and ingenious. It is by 
the author* of the sylphs, gnomes, and salamanders. There 
are a few words which are not quite so good as they should 
be, and even unbecoming a man who knows the world ; these 
grate the ear ; but, as they occur only here and there, they 
ought not to prejudice us against the whole, which, I assure 
you, upon examination, I found a very well-written critique. 
As I fancied this trifle would have diverted you, I heartily 
wished for you by my side in the closet, provided you could 
return again to your magnificent castle as soon as you had 
read it. And yet I own I should have felt some pain in let- 
ting you go so soon. I know too well what the last parting 
cost me. It would partake of the humor I have just been 
complaining of. I can not think of it even now without shud- 
dering ; but you are safe from this inconvenience. I hope this 
letter will find you cheerful ; if so, I beg you will burn it 
directly, for it would be very extraordinary if it should be 
agreeable to you, considering the horrid humor I write it in. 
It is very happy for the coadjutor that I do not answer his 
letter to-day. 

I have a great inclination to ask you a thousand questions 

* The A.bbe Yillars, author of the Count de Gabalis. 



MADAME DEGRIGNAN. • 6$. 

by way of finishing this performance worthily. Have you 
many grapes ? you tell me only of figs. Is the weather very 
hot ? you do not say a word about it. Have you such charm- 
ing cattle as we have at Paris ? Has your aunt D'Harcourt 
been with you long ? You see . that, having lost so many of 
your letters, I am quite ignorant how matters stand, and have 
entirely lost the thread of your discourse. Ah ! how I long 
to beat somebody ! and how much I should be obliged to any 
Breton that would come and say something very silly, to put 
me in a passion ! You told me the other day that you were 
glad I was returned to my solitude that I might think of you. 
Very pretty that ! as if I did not think sufficiently of you in 
every other place. Farewell, my dear — this is the best part of 
my letter. I finish, because I think I talk foolishly, and 1 
must preserve my credit. 



LETTER XX. 

The Rocks, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 1671. 
I believe the Leonic opinion is now the most ascertained. 
He understands the subject completely, can tell whether mat- 
ter reasons or not, what kind of intelligence God has given to 
the brute creation, with other subjects that occupied his 
thoughts. You may perceive by this that I suppose him in 
heaven, che spero /* He died on Monday morning ; I was 
then at Vitre and saw him, but I wish I had not seen him. 
His brother seems inconsolable ; I invited him to my woods 
that he might weep at liberty, but he told me he was too 
deeply afflicted to seek consolation. The poor bishop was 
only five and thirty years of age ; he was well provided for, 
and had an admirable taste for science ; this was, in fact, the 
cause of his death, as it was of Pascal's — he wore himself out 
with study. You are not much interested in this detail ; but 
it is the news of the place, and you must, therefore, bear with 

* 0, how I wish it 1 



70 LETTERS TO 

it. Death, in my opinion, is the concern of every one, and its 
consequences strike home to our bosoms. 

I read M. Nicole with a degree of pleasure that lifts me 
above the earth. I am particularly charmed with his third 
treatise on the means of preserving peace and harmony among 
mankind. Read it, I beseech you, and with attention ; you 
will see how clearly he develops the intricacies of the human 
heart, in which every sect is alike included — philosophers, 
Jansenists, Molinists, in short, all mankind : this may truly be 
called searching to the bottom of the heart with a lantern. 
He discovers to us sensations that we feel daily, but which we 
have neither the wit to comprehend nor the sincerity to ac- 
knowledge. In a word, I never read any thing like it, except 
Pascal. Were it not for the amusement of our books we 
should be moped to death for want of employment. It rains 
incessantly. I need say no more to make you conceive how 
dull our situation is. But you who enjoy a sunshine which is 
so much the object of my envy, how do I pity you to be torn 
from Grignan, while the weather is delightful, in the middle 
of autumn, and from an agreeable society, and all this to be 
shut up in a little dirty town ! I can not bear the idea. 
Could not M. de Grignan have put off the assembly a little 
longer ? Is he not master in this respect ? And poor Cou- 
langes, what will become of him ? Our recluse mode of life 
has so turned our brains that we make matters of consequence 
of every thing. Receiving and answering letters takes up 
some of our time, indeed, but we have always enough left 
upon our hands. You make our abbe proud by the kind 
things you say of him in your letters. I am satisfied with 
him on your account. As for La Mousse, he catechises Sun- 
days and holidays ; he is resolved to go to heaven. I tell him 
it is only out of curiosity, to see whether the sun is a heap of 
dust, continually in motion, or a globe of fire. The other day 
he assembled all the children of the village about him, and was 
catechising them, but after several questions they had so con- 
founded things, that when he asked them who the Blessed 



MADAME DE QBIGNAN. 7l 

Virgin was, they all with one accord answered, " The Creator 
of heaven and earth." His faith was not shaken by the chil- 
dren, but finding the men and women, and even the old peo- 
ple, all in the same story, he began to doubt, and at length 
joined in the opinion ; in short, he did not know what he was 
about, and if I had not luckily come to his aid he would never 
have got out of the scrape. This new opinion would certainly 
have been productive of more mischief than that of the mo- 
tion of atoms. Farewell, my dear child, you see we tickle 
ourselves in order to laugh, to so low an ebb are we re- 
duced. 



LETTER XXI. 

The Rocks, Wednesday, October, 7, 1671. 
You know I am always carried away by what I read, so 
that it is for the interest of those I converse with, that I should 
read none but the best books. I can think of nothing at pres- 
ent but M. Nicole's Moral Reflections. His treatise on the 
means of preserving peace among men, delights me. I never 
met with any thing so truly practical, yet so full of fire and 
imagination. If you have not yet read it, I beg you will. If you 
have read it, read it again with additional attention. For my 
part, I think all mankind are included in it. I am persuaded 
it was made for me, and hope to profit by it ; at least I shall 
endeavor to do so. You know I could never bear the old saying, 
" I am too old to mend ;" I could much sooner pardon the 
young for saying, I am too young. Youth is in itself so 
amiable, that were the soul as perfect as the body, we could 
not forbear adoring it ; but when youth is past, it is then we 
ought to think of improvements, and endeavor to supply the 
loss of personal charms by the graces and perfections of the 
mind. I have long made this the subject of meditation, and 
am determined to work every day at my mind, my soul, my 
heart, and my sentiments. I am full of this at present, and 



72 LETTERS TO 

therefore fill my letter with it, having besides nothing of 
greater consequence to tell you. 

I suppose you are at Lambesc, but I can not see you clearly 
from hence ; there is a mist about my imagination that con- 
ceals you from my sight. I had formed an idea of Grignan, 
I saw your apartment, used to walk upon your terrace, and 
went to mass at your beautiful church. But now I am quite 
at a loss ; I wait with great impatience for intelligence from 
your new quarters. I will write no more to-day, though I 
have a great deal of time upon my hands ; for I have nothing 
but trifles to tell you, which would be an affront to the lady- 
lieutenant of a province, who is holding the States, and, con- 
sequently, has weighty affairs upon her hands. It may do 
well enough when you are in your little palace of Apollo. 
Our abbe and La Mousse are very much yours ; and I, my 
dear child, need I tell you what I am, or what you are to me ? 



LETTER XXII. 



The Rocks. Wednesday, November 4, 1671. 
Let us talk of M. Nicole, it is a long time since we have 
said a word about him. There is a great deal of justice in 
your observation respecting the indifference he requires us to 
show to the opinion of the world ; I think with you, that 
philosophy will hardly be found sufficient of itself, without the 
assistance of grace. He lays so great a stress on preserving 
peace and good fellowship with our neighbor, and recommends 
so many things to us in order to attain these, that it is next 
to an impossibility, after this, to be indifferent to what the 
world thinks of us. Guess what I am doing ; I am beginning 
this treatise again — methinks I could wish to swallow it, like 
EzekiePs roll. I am delighted with what he says on the sub- 
ject of pride and self-love, which enter into all disputes, under 
the feigned name of the love of truth. In short, this treatise 
will apply to more than one in the world ; but I can not help 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 73 

thinking that he had me principally in. view when he wrote it. 
He says, eloquence, and a flow of words, give a luster to the 
thoughts. I greatly admire that expression; I thought it 
beautiful and new. The word luster is extremely apposite 
there, do you not think so ? We must read this book to- 
gether at Grignan. I pass my time in having masses said for 
you every day, and in a multitude of disagreeable thoughts, 
which can be of no service to you, but which, however, it is 
impossible to avoid. I have at present ten or twelve workmen 
in the air, raising the timbers of our chapel. They run back- 
ward and forward upon the outside of it like so many rats ; 
they hold by nothing, and are every instant in danger of 
breaking their necks, and make my back ache with endeavor- 
ing to help them below. One can not but admire the won- 
derful effects of Providence in the desire of gain, and be 
thankful such people are created, who are willing to do for a 
shilling what others would not do for a hundred thousand 
pounds. " O, thrice happy they who plant cabbages ! when 
they have one foot on the ground, the other is not far off." I 
have this from a very good author.* We have planters too 
with us, who are forming new avenues. I hold the young 
trees myself while they set them in the ground, unless it rains 
so that there is no being abroad ; but the weather almost 
drives me to despair, and makes me wish for a sylph to trans- 
port me to Paris. Madame de la Fayette says, that since you 
tell the story of Auger in so serious a manner, she is per- 
suaded nothing can be more true, and that you are by no 
means jesting with me. She thought at first that it had been 
a joke of Coulanges', and it looks very like it. If you write 
to him upon the subject, pray let it be in that style. 



* Panur 




74 •' LETTERS TO 

LETTER XXIII. 

Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 16*72. 

For Heaven's sake, my dear child, what do you mean ? 
What pleasure can you take in thus abusing your person and 
understanding, vilifying your conduct, and saying, that one 
must have great good-nature to think of you sometimes? 
^hough I am certain you. can not believe all you say, yet it 
nurts me to hear it ; you really make me angry with you ; 
and though, perhaps, I ought not to answer seriously things 
that are only said in jest, yet I can not help scolding you be- 
fore I go any further. You are excellent again, when you say 
you are afraid of wits. Alas ! if you knew how insignificant 
they are when you are by, and how encumbered they are 
with their own dear persons, you would not value them at all. 
Do you remember how you used to be deceived in them 
sometimes ? Do not let distance magnify objects too much ; 
but it is one of its common effects. 

We sup every evening at Madame Scarron's ; she has a 
most engaging wit, and an understanding surprisingly just 
and clear. It is a pleasure to hear her sometimes reason upon 
the horrid confusion and distractions of a country with which 
she is very well acquainted. The vexations that Heudicourt 
undergoes in a place that appears so dazzling and glorious ; 
the continual rage of Lauzun ; the gloomy chagrin and cares 
of the court ladies, from which the most envied are not always 
exempt ; are things which she describes in the most agreeable 
and entertaining manner. Such conversations as these lead 
us insensibly from one moral reflection to another, sometimes 
of a religious, sometimes of a political kind. You are fre- 
quently one of our subjects ; she admires your wit and man- 
ners ; and, whenever you return hither, you are sure of being 
highly in favor. 

But let me give you an instance of the king's goodness and 
generosity, to show you what a pleasure it is to serve so ami- 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 75 

able a master: He sent for Marshal Bellefond into his clcset 
the other day, and thus accosted him : " Monsieur le mare- 
chal, I insist upon knowing your reasons for quitting my ser- 
vice. Is it through a principle of devotion ? Is it from an 
inclination to retire ? Or is it on account of your debts ? If 
it be the latter, I myself will take charge of them, and inform 
myself of the state of your affairs." The marshal was sensibly 
affected with this goodness : " Sire," said he, " it is my debts ; 
I am overwhelmed with them, and can not bear to see some of 
my friends, who assisted me with their fortunes, likely to 
suffer on my account, without having it in my power to sat- 
isfy them." " Well, then," said the king, " they shall have 
security for what is owing to them : I now give you a hun- 
dred thousand francs on your house at Versailles, and a grant 
of four hundred thousand more, as a security in case of your 
death. The hundred thousand francs will enable you to pay 
off the arrears, and so now you remain in my service." That 
heart must be insensible indeed, that could refuse the most 
implicit obedience to such a master, who enters with so much 
goodness and condescension into the interest of his servants. 
Accordingly the marshal made no further resistance ; he is 
now reinstated in his j)lace, and loaded with favors. This is 
all strictly true. 

Not a night passes at St. Germains without balls, plays, or 
masquerades. The king shows an assiduity to divert this 
madam e that he never did for the other. Racine has brought 
out a new piece called Bajazet, which they say carries every 
thing before it : indeed it does not go in emperando, as the 
others did. Monsieur de Tallard says, that it as much ex- 
ceeds the best piece of Corneille's, as Corneille's does one of 
Boyer's ; this now is what you may call praising by the lump ; 
there is nothing like telling truth ; however, our eyes and ears 
will inform us more fully ; for 

Du bruit de Bajazet mon ame importune e * 
* A line in Despreaux. 



76 LETTERS TO 

obliges me to go immediately to the play ; we shall see what 
it is. 

I have been at Livri. Ah, my dear child, how well did I 
keep my word with you, and how many tender thoughts of 
you filled my breast ! It was delightful weather, though very 
cold ; but the sun shone finely, and every tree was hung with 
pearls and crystals, that formed a pleasing diversity of colors. 
I walked a great deal. The next day I dined at Pomponne. 
It would not be an easy matter to recount all that passed dur- 
ing a stay of five hours ; however, I was not at all tired with 
my visit. Monsieur de Pomponne will be here in three or 
four days. I should be very much vexed if I was obliged to 
apply to him about your Provence affairs ; I am persuaded he 
will not hear me. You see I give myself airs of knowledge. 
But really nothing comes up to M. d'Usez ; I never saw a man 
of better understanding, nor one more capable of giving sound 
advice. I wait to see him, that I may inform you of what he 
has done at St. Germain. 

You desire me to write you long letters ; I think you have 
now sufficient reason to be contented ; I am sometimes fright- 
ened at the length of them myself; and were it not for your 
agreeable flattery, I should never think of venturing them out 
of my hands. Madame de Brissac is excellently provided for 
the winter, in M. de Longueville and the Count de Guiche ; 
'but nothing is meant but what is fair and honorable, only she 
takes a pleasure in being adored. La Marans is never seen 
now, either at Madame de la Fayette's or at M. de la Roche- 
foucault's ; we can not find out what she is doing ; we are apt 
to judge a little rashly now and then ; she took it into her 
head this summer, that she should be ravished, as if she 
wished it ; but I am of opinion that she is in no great dangu. 
Good Heavens, what a mad creature she is, and how long have 
I looked on her in the same light as you do now ! But now 
let me tell you, my dear, it is not my fault that I do not see 
Madame de la Valavoire.* I am sure there is no occasion to 

* A lady of quality in Provence, who was just then come to Paris. 



MADAME DE 6RIGNAN. 71 

bid me go and see her, it is enough that she has seen you, hv 
me to run after her ; but then she is running after somebody 
else ; for I might forever desire her to wait at home for me ; 
I can not get her to do me that favor. Your jest applies ad- 
mirably to M. le Grand, and a very good one it is. Poor 
Chatillon is every day teasing us with the most wretched ones 
imaginable. 



LETTER XXIV. 



Paris, Wednesday, June 20, 1672. 

I send you M. de Roehefoucault's Maxims, revised and cor- 
rected, with additions ; it is a present to you from himself. 
Some of them I can make shift to guess the meaning of ; but 
there are others that, to my shame be it spoken, I can not un- 
derstand at all. God knows how it will be with you. There 
is a dispute between the archbishop of Paris and the arch- 
bishop of Rheims about a point of ceremony : Paris will have 
Rheims ask leave of him, as his superior, to officiate, which 
Rheims will not consent to. It is said that these two right 
reverends will never agree till they are thirty or forty leagues 
asunder ; if that is the case, they are both of them likely to 
continue as they are. The ceremony it relates to is the canon- 
ization of one Borgia, a Jesuit. The whole opera band is to 
exert itself on the occasion ; the streets will be illuminated, 
even to the Rue St. Antoine ; the people are all mad about it : 
old Merinville, however, has died without having seen it. 

Do not deceive yourself, my child, by entertaining too good 
an opinion of my letters- The other day an impertinent fel- 
ling the monstrous length of a letter I was writing to 
jou, asked me very seriously, if I thought any body could pos- 
sibly read it all : I trembled at the thought of it, but without 
any intention of amendment ; for the correspondence I have 
with you is my existence, the sole pleasure of my life ; and 
every other consideration is but mean, when put in competition 



78 LETTERS TO 

with it. I am uneasy about your brother ; poor fellow ! The 
weather is very cold: he lies in camp, and is still on the 
march to Cologne, for the Lord knows how long ! I was in 
hopes of seeing him this winter, and see where he is now ! 
After all, I find little Mademoiselle Adhemar must be the com- 
fort of my old age : I wish you could but see how fond she is 
of me ; how she cries after me, and hangs about me. She is 
not a beauty, but she is very pleasing — has a delightful voice, 
and a skin as clear and white ... In short, I doat on her. You, 
it seems, doat on your boy ; I am very glad of it ; we can not 
have too many things to amuse us ; real or imaginary, it does 
not signify. 

To-morrow there is to be a ball at Madame's. I saw a heap 
of jewels tossing about at mademoiselle's, which put me in mind 
of past troubles : and yet, would to Heaven we were at the 
same work again ! For how can I be unhappy while you 
are with me ? Alas ! my whole life is one continued scene of 
sorrow and disappointment. Dear Monsieur Nicole ! have 
pity on me; and teach me to bear, with patience, the dispen- 
sations of Providence. Farewell, my dearest child, I dare not 
say I adore you ; but I can not conceive any degree of love 
superior to mine : the kind and pleasing assurances you give 
me of yours, at once lighten and increase my sorrows. 



LETTER XXV. 



Paris, "Wednesday, March 16, 16*72. 
You talk to me of my departure : alas ! my dear, I languish 
in the pleasing hope of it ; nothing now stops me, but my poor 
aunt,* who is dying with violent pain and dropsy : it breaks 
my heart to see her sufferings, and to hear the tender and 
affecting manner in which she talks to me : her courage, 
patience, and resignation, are all together admirable. M. 
d'Hacqueville and I observe her distemper from day to day ; 

* Henrietta de Coulanges, Marchioness de la Trousse. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 79 

he sees my inmost heart, and knows what grief it is to me not 
to be at liberty at present : I am entirely guided by him, and 
we shall see, between this and Easter, whether her disorder 
increases as much as it has done since I came hither ; if it 
does, she will die in our arms ; but if she receives any relief, 
and is likely to languish for any length of time, I shall then 
set out as soon as M. de Coulanges comes back. Our poor 
abbe is as vexed at this as myself ; but we shall be able to 
judge how it will turn out by next month. I can think of 
nothing else : yon can not wish to see me so much as I do to 
embrace you ; so put some bounds to your ambition, and do 
not hope ever to equal me in that respect. 

My son tells me, they lead a wretched life in Germany, and 
are working all in the dark. He was greatly concerned at the 
death of the poor chevalier. You ask me if I am as fond of 
life as ever : I must own to you that I experience mortifica- 
tions, and severe ones too ; but I am still unhappy at the 
thoughts of death : I consider it so great a misfortune to see 
the termination of all my pursuits, that I should desire noth- 
ing better, if it were practicable, than to begin life again. I 
find myself engaged in a scene of confusion and trouble : I 
was embarked in life without my own consent, and know 
I must leave it again ; that distracts me : for how shall I 
leave it ? in what manner ? by what door ? at what time ? in 
what disposition ? Am I to suffer a thousand pains and tor- 
ments that will make me die in a state of despair ? Shall I 
lose my senses 1 Am I to die by some sudden accident ? 
How shall I stand with God ? What shall I have to offer to 
him ? Will fear and necessity make my peace with him ? 
Shall I have no other sentiment, but that of fear ? What 
T to hope ? Am I worthy of heaven ? or have I de- 
„d the torments of hell ? Dreadful alternative ! Alarm- 
ing uncertainty ! Can there be greater madness than to place 
our eternal salvation in uncertainty ? Yet what is more natu- 
ral, or can be more easily accounted for, than the foolish man- 
ner in which I have spent my life ? I am frequently buried in 



80 LETTERS TO 

thoughts of this nature, and then death appears so dreadful 
to me that I hate life more for leading me to it, than I do for 
all the thorns that are strewed in its way. You will ask me 
then, if I would wish to live forever ? Far from it ; but if I 
had been consulted, I would veiy gladly have died in my 
nurse's arms ; it would have spared me many vexations, and 
would have insured heaven to me at a very easy rate : but let 
us talk of something else. 

I am quite provoked that you have received Bajazet from 
any hand but mine ; that fellow Barbin* has served me this 
trick, out of spite, because I do not write Princesses of Cleves 
and Montpensier.f You form a very just and true judgment 
of Bajazet, and you will find that I am of your opinion : I 
wish I could send you Champmelee to enliven it a little. The 
character of Bajazet wants life, and the manners of the Turks 
are ill preserved : their marriages have less ceremony ; the 
plot is badly managed ; and we are at a loss to account for so 
much slaughter : the piece has doubtless its beauties ; but 
there is nothing superlative ; nothing perfect ; none of those 
fine strokes, that, like Corneille's, make one tremble. Let us 
be cautious how we compare Racine with him ; the difference 
between them is great : the pieces of the latter are in many 
places cold and feeble ; nor will he ever be able to surpass 
his Alexander and Andromache. Many persons consider Ba- 
jazet as inferior to both these, and it is my opinion also, if 
I may be allowed to give it. Racine's plays are written for 
Champmelee, and not for posterity ;J whenever he grows old 
and ceases to be in love, it will be seen whether I am mistaken 
or not. Long live then our old friend Corneille ; let us forgive 
the bad lines we occasionally meet with for the sake of those 

* A famous bookseller of that name. " 

f Two romances written by Madame de la Fayette, by which Barbut 

got a great deal of money. 

J The event has proved, by Mithridates, Phaedra, and Athaliah, that 

Madame de Sevigne's judgment partook of the prejudice of the times 

in which she wrote. 



MADAME DE 6BIONAN. |gj) 

divine sallies that so often transport us, those masterly strokes 
that bid defiance to imitation. Despreaux has said as much 
before me ; and it is in general the opinion of every one of 
good taste ; let us therefore maintain it. 

I send you a witticism of Madame de CornuePs, which has 
highly diverted the crowd. Young M. Tombonneau has quit- 
ted the long robe, and taken to the jacket and trowsers : in 
short, he is resolved to go to sea ; I do not know in what way 
the land has offended him ; however, somebody told Madame 
de Cornuel that he was going to sea. " Lord bless the man !" 
said she, "has he been bitten by a mad dog 2" As this was 
said off hand, it raised a great laugh. 



LETTER XXVI. 



Paris, Wednesday, May 4, 1672. 
It is impossible, my dear child, to tell you how much J 
pity, how much I praise, and how much I admire you : thus I 
divide my discourse into three heads. First, / pity you in 
being so subject to the vapors and low spirits, as they will 
certainly do you much harm. Secondly, I praise you for sub- 
duing them when there is occasion, especially on M. de Grig- 
nan's account, whom they must make very uneasy ; it is 
a pleasing proof of the regard and consideration you have for 
him. Thirdly and lastly, / admire you for suppressing your 
natural inclination, to appear what you are not : this is really 
heroic, and the fruit of your philosophy : you have ample 
matter in yourself to call it into exercise. We were saying 
the other day that there is no real evil in life, except great 
pain ; all the rest is merely imaginary, and depends on the 
light in which we view things. All o^her evils are curable 
either by time, moderation in our wishes, or strength of mind ; 
and may be lightened by reflection, religion, or philosophy. 
But pain frrannizes over both soul and body. Confidence in 

4* 



82 LETTERS TO 

God may indeed enable us to bear it witb patience, and turn 
it to our advantage, but it will not diminish it. 

This seems to savor of the Fauxbourg Saint Germain,* but 
it comes from my poor aunt's apartment, where I was the 
leader of the conversation. The subject arose naturally from 
her extreme sufferings, which, she maintains, are infinitely su- 
perior to every evil that life is subject to. M. de la Rochefou- 
cault is of the same opinion : he is still tormented with the 
gout ; he has lost his true mother,f and he lamented her 
death so tenderly and affectionately that I almost adored 
him : she was a woman of extraordinary merit, and was the 
only person in the world, he said, who was unchangeable in 
her love to him. Fail not to write to him ; both you and M. 
de Grignan. M. de Rochefoucault's affection for his family is 
unparalleled : he maintains that it is one of the chains that at- 
tach us to one another. We have discovered, and related, and 
reconciled many things relative to his foolish mother (Madame 
de Marans), which explain to us clearly what you once said, 
that it was not what we thought, but quite another thing ; 
yes truly it was quite another thing, or perhaps better still, it 
was this and that too; one was without prejudice to the 
other ; she wedded the lute to the voice, and spiritual things 
to coarseness and indelicacy. My child, we have found a 
good vein, and one which explains the mystery of a quarrel 
you once had in the council-chamber of Madame de la Fay- 
ette. I will tell you the rest in Provence. 

My aunt is in a state which does not seem likely to termi- 
nate. Your journey is exceedingly well-timed, perhaps ours 
may tally with it. We have a great desire to pass some part 
of our Whitsuntide on the road, either at Moulins or at Ly- 
ons. The abbe wishes it no less than myself. There is not a 
man of quality (of the sword I mean) in Paris. I went on 
Sunday to hear mass at the Minims. " We shall find our poor 

* That is, from Madame de la Fayette, at whose house M. de Roche- 
foucault, and some of the most select company in Paris, used to meet. 
f G-abrielle du Plessis Liar.court. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 83 

Minims quite deserted," said I to Mademoiselle de la Trousse, 
" we shall not find a creature there, except the Marquis d'Al- 
luye." * Well, we went into the church, where the first and 
only creature we saw was the Marquis d'Alluye : I could not 
help laughing till I fairly cried at the oddity of the thing ; 
in short he is left behind, and is going to his government on 
the sea-coast. The coast must be guarded, you know. 

The lover of her whom you style the incomparable,] did not 
meet her at the first stage, but on the road, in a house of 
Sanguinis, a little beyond that which you know ; he remained 
there two hours. It is thought he then saw the children for 
the first time. The fair one stays there, attended by a guard 
and a female friend ; she is to be there for four or ^ve months. 
Madame de la Valliere is at St. Germains. Madame de Thi- 
anges is here with her father ; I saw her daughter the other 
day, she is beautiful beyond all imagination. Some people 
pretend that the king went straight to Nanteuil, but it is cer- 
tain that the fair one is at the house called Genitoi. I tell you 
nothing but the truth ; there is nothing I have a greater aver- 
sion and contempt for than idle stories. 

You have taken your departure, then, my dear. Well, I 
will live in the hope of hearing from you at every stage. I 
shall not be behindhand on my side. I have managed so 
well as to find a friend at the post-office, who is very careful 
of our letters. I have for these several days past been occu- 
pied in adorning my cottage ; Saint Aubin has effected won- 
ders. I shall sleep there to-morrow. I swear to you that the 
reason I like it so well is because it is intended for you. You 
will be very well accommodated in my apartment, and I shall 
not be less so. I will tell you bow charmingly every thing is 
contrived. I am extremely uneasy about your poor brother ; 
this terrible war makes us tremble for those we love ; when- 
ever I think of it it fills me with horror ; but then, again, I 

* Paul d'Escloubleau, Marquis d'AUuye and de Sourdis, governor of 
the city and country of Orleans, and of the Pays Chartrain. 
f The king and Madame de Montespan. 



84 LETTERS TO 

comfort myself with the thought that it may not be so had as 
I apprehend, for I have remarked that things seldom happen 
as we expect them to do. 

Pray let me know what has happened between the Princess 
Harcourt and you.* Brancas is dreadfully chagrined that 
you do not love his daughter. M. d'Usez has promised to re- 
establish peace between all parties : I should be glad to know 
what has occasioned the coolness between you. 

You tell me of your son, that his beauty grows less, and 
his merit increases : I am sorry for the loss of his beauty, and 
I am rejoiced to find that he loves wine ; this is a little spice 
of Brittany and Burgundy together, which will produce a 
charming effect with the prudence of the Grignans. As for 
your daughter, she is quite the reverse ; her beauty increases, 
and her merit lessens. I assure you, she is very pretty, but as 
obstinate as a demon ; she has her little wills and little designs 
of her own ; she diverts us extremely ; she has a beautiful 
complexion, blue eyes, black hair, a nose neither handsome 
nor ugly ; her chin, her cheeks, and the turn of her face are 
faultless. I shall say nothing of her mouth, it will do very 
well. She has a very sweet voice : Madame de Coulanges 
thinks it suits her mouth admirably. 

• I fancy, my dear child, that I shall at last be a convert to 
your opinion. I meet with vexations in life that are insup- 
portable, and find, notwithstanding my fine reasoning at the 
beginning of this letter, there are many evils which, though 
less severe than bodily pain, are nevertheless equally to be 
dreaded. 



LETTER XXVII. 

Paris, Friday, May 30, 1672. 
I had no letter from you yesterday, my poor child. Your 
journey to Manaco had put you quite out of sorts. I was 

* Frances de Brancas, wife of Alphonso Henry Chartres, of Lorrain, 



MADAME DEGRIGNAN. 85 

afraid some little disaster of this kind would befall me. I now 
send you news from M. de Pomponne ; the fashion of being 
wounded is already begun ; my heart is very heavy with the 
fears of this campaign. My son writes by every opportunity ; 
he is at present in good health. 

My aunt is still in a deplorable state, and yet we have the 
courage to think of appointing a day for our departure, as- 
suming a hope which in reality we can not entertain. I can 
not help thinking that many of the events of life are ill-ar- 
ranged ; they are, as it were, rugged stones lying aoross our 
way, .too unwieldy to be removed, and which we must get 
over as well as we can, though not without pain and difficulty. 
Is not the comparison just ? I shall not bring my little girl 
with me ; she goes on very well at Livri, and is to stay there 
during the summer. You never saw Livri in such perfection 
as it is at present ; the trees are beautifully green, and the 
honeysuckles are every where in profusion. I am not yet 
tired of their perfume. But you despise our shrubberies since 
you have been accustomed to your groves of orange-trees. 

I have a very tragical history to communicate to you from 
Livri. Do you remember that pretended devotee, who walked 
so steadily without turning his head that you would have 
thought he was carrying a glass of water upon it ? His devo- 
tion has turned his brain. One night he gave himself five or 
six stabs with a knife, and fell on his knees in his cell, naked, 
and weltering in his blood. On entering, he was found in this 
posture. " Good God ! brother, what have you done ? Who 
has treated you thus V He replied, very calmly, " Father, I 
am doing penance." He fainted away ; he was put to bed ; 
his wounds, which were found very dangerous, were dressed ; 
with uncommon care and attention he recovered at the end of 
three months, and was sent back to his friends. 

If you do not think such a head sufficiently disordered, tell 

Prince of Harcourt, and daughter of Charles de Brancas, gentleman 
of honor to Queen Anne of Austria. 



86 LETTERS TO 

me so, and you shall have the story of Madame Paul,* who 
is fallen desperately in love with a great booby of five or six 
and twenty, whom she had taken to be her gardener. The 
lady has managed her affairs admirably ; she has married him. 
The fellow is a mere brute, and has not common sense ; he 
will beat her soon, he has already threatened to do it ; no 
matter, she was resolved to have him. I have never seen 
such violent love ; there is all the extravagance of sentiments 
imaginable, were they but rightly applied ; but they are like 
a rough sketch of an ill painting ; all the colors are there, 
they want only to be properly disposed. It is extremely 
amusing to me to meditate on the caprices of love. I feel 
frightened for myself when I see such things ! What insolence, 
to attack Mme. Paul — that is to say, austere, old, straight- 
laced virtue herself! 



LETTER XXVIII. 

Paris, Monday, June 20, 1672. 
I can not reflect upon the situation you have been in, with- 
out great emotion ; and though I know you are out of dan- 
ger, yet I can not turn my eyes on what has passed without 
a horror that distracts me. Alas, how much was I in the 
dark about a health that was so dear to me ! If any one had 
told me that my daughter was in greater danger than if she 
had been in the army, how little should I have believed it ! 
Must I suffer this useless grief in addition to so many other 
sorrows that afflict my heart ? The extreme danger my sou 
is in ; the war, which rages every day with greater violence ; 
the couriers, who bring no other news but the death of some 
friend or acquaintance, and may bring accounts more fatal ; 
the fear of hearing ill news, and yet the curiosity of knowing 
it ; the desolation of those who are in excess of grief, and with 
whom I pass a great part of my time ; the strange state of 
health my aunt is in, and my extreme desire of seeing you ; 

* Widow to the gardener at Livri. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN, 87 

all this afflicts and consumes me, and forces me to lead a life 
so contrary to my inclination, that I have need of more than 
a common share of health to support it. 

You have nevar seen Paris as it is at present ; all the world 
is in tears, or fears to be so. Poor Madame de Nogent is 
almost beside herself. Madame de Longueville pierces every 
heart with her complaints. I have not seen her indeed, but 
this is what I am told. Mademoiselle de Vertus returned two 
days since from Port-Royal, where she resides. They sent for 
her and M. Arnauld, to impart to Madame de Longueville the 
terrible news. The very sight of Mademoiselle de Vertus was 
sufficient ; her sudden return was too sure a sign that some 
fatal accident had happened. As soon therefore as she ap- 
peared — " Ah ! mademoiselle, how is it with my brother ?"* 
She did not dare, even in thought, to inquire further. " Ma- 
dam, he is recovered of his wound — there has been a battle — " 
"And my son?" No answer was made. "Ah! mademoi- 
selle, my son, my dear child ! answer me ; is he dead ?" " I 
have no words to answer you, madam." " Oh, my dear son ! 
Was he killed on the spot ? Had he not a single moment ? 
Ob, God ! what a sacrifice is this !" And she threw herself 
upon the bed, and by expressions of the most lively sorrow, by 
fainting-fits, by convulsions, by the silence of despair, by 
stifled cries, by sudden bursts of passion, by floods of bitter 
tears, by eyes uplifted to heaven, and by heart-rending com- 
plaints, she exhibited all the various emotions of grief. She 
sees a few friends ; and, in pure submission to Providence, 
consents to receive such nourishment as is just sufficient to 
keep life and soul together. She takes no rest ; her health, 
before in a declining state, is visibly altered for the worse. 
For my part, I wish her death earnestly, as I can not think she 
can survive such a loss. There is a certain gentlemanf who 
is scarcely less affected. I can not help thinking, that if they 
had met, in the first moments of their grief, and had been 
alone together, all other sentiments would have given place 

* The Prince of Conde*. f M. de la Rochefoucault. 



88 LETTERS TO 

to sighs and tears, redoubled without intermission; there 
would have been a dumb scene of sorrow, a dialogue of inar- 
ticulate sighs and groans. This is a mere thought of my own. 
But, my dear, how great affliction is this ! The very mis- 
tresses of poor De Longueville do not constrain themselves ; 
his domestics are disconsolate ; and his gentleman, who came 
yesterday with the ill news, scarcely appears a reasonable crea- 
ture. This death effaces the thoughts of all others. 

A courier, who arrived yesterday evening, brings an account 
of the death of the Count du Plessis,* who was killed by a 
cannon-shot, as he was giving directions for making a bridge. 
Arnheim is besieged by M. Turenne. They did not attack 
the fort of Skeing, as it was defended by eight thousand men. 
Alas! these successful beginnings will be followed with a 
tragical end for a great number of families. May Heaven pre- 
serve my poor son ! He was not upon this expedition ; but 
the campaign is not yet finished. 

In the midst of our afflictions, the description you have 
given me of Madame Colonna and her sister,f is really divine ; 
it rouses one under the most melancholy circumstances. It is 
an admirable picture. The Countess de Soissons, and Ma- 
dame de Bouillon,J are quite in a rage with these fools, and 
say they ought to be confined. It is thought that the king 
will not disoblige the constable§ (Colonna), who is certainly 
one of the greatest men in Rome. In the mean time we are 
in expectation of seeing them arrive here like Mademoiselle de 
l'Etoile ;|| this comparison is good. 

The accounts I send you are from the best authority ; you 
will find by all you receive, that M. de Longueville has been 
the cause of his own death, as well as of the death of many 

* Alexander de Choiseul, Count du Plessis, son of Caesar de Choiseul, 
Marshal of France. 

f Hortensia Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin. 

J Sisters to Mesdames de Colonna and Mazarin. 

§ The father of these ladies, and of one of the most powerful families 
in Rome. | In Scarron's comic romance. 



MADAME DEGRIGNAN. 89 

others ; and that the prince has showed himself, through the 
whole of this expedition, more like a father than the general 
of an army. I said yesterday, and others agreed with me, 
that if the war continues, the duke* will certainly occasion the 
death of the prince. His love for him surpasses every other 
consideration. 

La Marans affects to appear overwhelmed with grief. She 
says that she sees very plainly there is something in the news 
from the army which is concealed from her ; and that the 
prince and the duke are dead, as well as M. de Longueville. 
She conjures people, by all that is sacred, to speak out, and 
not to spare her ; and tells them, that in her deplorable situa- 
tion, it is in vain to hide any thing from her. If it were pos- 
sible to laugh under these circumstances, we should laugh at 
her. Alas ! if she knew how little any of us think of con- 
cealing any thing from her, and how much every one is taken 
up with his own griefs and his own fears, she would not have 
the vanity to believe we paid so much attention to her as to 
deceive her. 

The news I send you comes, as I before said, from good 
authority ; I had it from Gourville, who was with Madame de 
Longueville when she heard of her son's death. All the 
couriers come straight to him. M. de Longueville had made 
his will before he set out. He leaves a great part of his prop- 
erty to a son he has, who, as I believe, will take the title of 
Chevalier d'Orleans,f without expense to his relations. Have 
you heard how the body of M. de Longueville was disposed 
of? It was laid in the same boat in which he passed the 
river two hours before. The prince, who was wounded, ordered 
him to be placed near him, covered with a cloak, and, with 
several others who were wounded, repassed the Rhine to a 
town on this side of the river, where they came to have their 

* Henry Juliers de Bourbon, son of the prince. 

t He appeared under the name of the Chevalier de Longueville, and 
was accidentally killed at Philipsbourg in 1688, by a soldier, who was 
shooting at a snipe. See the letter of the 8th of July following 



90 LETTERS TO 

wounds dressed. It was the most melancholy sight in the 
world. They say the Chevalier de Monchevreuil, who was at- 
tached to M. de Longueville, will not have a wound dressed 
which he received as he stood next to him. 

I have received a letter from my son : he is very much 
grieved at the death of M. de Longueville. He was not in 
this expedition, but he is to be in another. What safety can 
be hoped for in such a profession ? I advise you to write to 
M. de la Rochefoucault, on the death of the chevalier, and the 
wound of M. de Marsillac. This fatal event has given me an 
opportunity of seeing his heart .without disguise: for con- 
stancy, worth, tenderness, and good sense, he infinitely sur- 
passes any one I have ever met with ; his wit and humor are 
nothing in comparison. I will not amuse myself at presert 
with telling you how much I love you. I embrace M. •' *, 
Grignan, and the coadjutor. 

The same evening, at 10 o'clock. 
I made up my packet two hours ago, and on my return to 
town I found a letter for me, with the news that a peace was 
concluded with Holland. It may easily be imagined that th( 
Dutch are in the greatest consternation, and glad to submit tc 
any terms ; the king's success is beyond all that has ever been 
known. We shall once more breathe again ; but what i 
cruel addition must this be to the grief of Madame de Longue* 
ville, and all those who have lost children and near relations 1 
I have seen Marshal du Plessis ; he is greatly afflicted, but de- 
means himself like a brave soldier. His lady* weeps bitterly ; 
the countessf is only disconcerted at not being a duchess. I 
think, my dear child, that if it had not been for the rashness 
of M. de Longueville, we should have gained Holland without 
losing a man. 

* Columba de Charron. 

f Maria Louisa le Loup de Bellenave. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 91 



LETTER XXIX. 

Paris, Friday, Bee. 8, 1673. 
I must begin, my dear child, by telling you of the death of 
the Count de Guiche : this is the chief subject of conversation 
at present. The poor youth died of sickness and fatigue in 
M. de Turenne's army ; the news came on Tuesday morning. 
Father Bourdaloiie went to acquaint the Marshal de Gram- 
mont with it ; who feared it the moment he saw him, know- 
ing the declining state of his son. He made every one go out 
of his chamber, which was a little apartment near the convent 
of the Capuchins, and as soon as he found himself alone with 
Bourdaloiie, he threw himself upon his neck, saying, that he 
guessed but too well what he had to tell him ; that it was his 
death-stroke, and that he received it as such from the hand 
of God ; that he lost the true, the only object of his tender- 
ness and natural affection ; that he had never experienced any 
real joy, or violent grief, but through his son, who was not a 
common character. He threw himself on a bed, unable to 
support his grief, but without weeping, for this is a situation 
that denies the relief of tears. Bourdaloiie wept, but had not 
yet spoken a word. At last he began to comfort him with 
religious discourse, in which he employed his well-known zeal 
and eloquence. They were six hours together ; after which 
Bourdaloiie, to induce him to make a complete sacrifice, led 
him to the church of these good Capuchins, where vigils were 
said for his son. He entered the church fainting and trem- 
bling, supported more by the crowd that pressed round him 
on every side, than by his feet ; his face was so much disfig- 
ured with grief, that he could scarcely be known. The duke 
saw him in this lamentable condition, and related it to us at 
Madame de la Fayette's, with tears. The poor marshal re- 
turned at last to his little apartment, where he remains like a 
man under sentence of death. The king has written to him. 
No one is admitted to see him. Madame de Monaco* is in- 

* Catherine Charlotte de G-rammonl sister to the Count de Guiche. 



92 LETTERS TO 

consolable, and refuses to see company. Madame de Lou* 
vigny* is likewise incapable of receiving comfort ; but it is 
only because sbe is not at all grieved. Do not you wonder at 
her good fortune ? She is in a moment become Duchess of 
Grammont. The chancellor's ladyf is transported with joy: 
the Countess de Guiche J behaves admirably well ; she weeps 
when they tell her all the kind things her husband said, and 
the excuses he made to her when he was dying. " He was a 
very amiable man," she says ; " I should have loved him pas- 
sionately, if he had loved me in the slightest degree ; I suf- 
fered his contempt with grief, and his death affects me with 
pity ; I always hoped he would change his sentiments with 
regard to me." This is certainly true ; there is not the least 
fiction in it. Madame de Verneuil§ feels real concern on this 
occasion. I believe it will be sufficient, if you only desire me 
to make your compliments to her ; so you need only write to 
the Countess de Guiche, to Madame de Monaco, and Madame 
de Louvigny. The good D'Hacqueville has been desired to go 
to Frase, thirty leagues from hence, to tell the news to Ma- 
dame de Grammont, and to carry her a letter written by the 
poor youth a little before he died. He made a full confession 
of the faults of his past life, asked pardon publicly, and sent to 
tell Vardes a great many things which may benefit him. In 
a word, he ended the comedy well, and has left a rich and a 
happy widow. || The chancellor's lady is so fully sensible, she 

* Maria Charlotte de Castelnau, sisteivin4aw to the Count. 

f Relict of the late Chancellor Seguier, and grandmother to tha 
Countess de Guiche. 

} Margaret Louisa Susan de Bethune Sulli. 

§ Charlotte de Seguier, mother to the Countess de Guiche : she first 
married the Duke de Sulli, and afterward Henry de Bourbon, Duke de 
Verneuil. 

| She was married afterward to the Duke de Lude, in 1688. The 
Count de Guiche had been the lover of Henrietta of England. He 
also entered into the intrigues of M. de Yardes. He had made a bril- 
liant campaign in Poland, and to him was owed the passage of the 
Rhine. He was as handsome and witty as he was brave. 



MADAME DEGRIGNAN. 93 

says, of the little happiness this poor lady must have had in 
her marriage, that she thinks of nothing but repairing this 
misfortune. We are at a loss for a proper match for her. 
You will perhaps name for her M. de Marsillac, as we did ; 
but they do not like each other : the other dukes are too 
young. M. de Foix is destined for Mademoiselle de Roque- 
laure. Think a little for us, for the affair is pressing. I have 
sent you, my dear child, a tedious account, but you sometimes 
tell me you like minuteness. 



LETTER XXX. 



Paris, Monday, Dec. 11, 1673. 

I am just returned from St. Germain, where I have been 
two whole days with Madame de Coulanges at M. de la Roche- 
foucault's. In the evening we went to pay our court to the 
queen, who said a thousand obliging things to me of you ; but 
if I were to enumerate all the how-d' ye-do's and compliments 
that I had, both from men and women, old and young, who 
crowd about me to inquire after you, I should have to name 
the whole court. " And how does Madame de Grignan do ? 
and when will she return ?" and so on. In short, only figure 
me to yourself in the midst of a crowd of idle people, who, 
having nothing else to do, would every one ask me some ques- 
tion, so that I was frequently obliged to answer twenty at 
once. I dined with Madame de Louvois : it was who should 
be the first to invite me. I would have returned yesterday, 
but we were stopped by force to sup with M. Marsillac in his 
enchanted apartments with Madame de Thianges, Madame 
Scarron, the duke, M. de la Rochefoucault, M. de Vivonne, 
and a band of heavenly music. This morning, with much ado, 
we got away. 

A quarrel of a singular nature is the news of the day at 
St. Germain. The Chevalier de Vendome, and M. de Vivonne 
are the humble servants of Madame de Ludre. The chevalier 



94 LETTERS TO 

expressed a wish of compelling M. de Vivonne to res gn his 
pretensions. But on what grounds ? he was asked. Why, he 
would fight M. de Vivonne. They laughed at him. It was, 
however, no joke, he said, he would fight him ; and he mounted 
his horse to take the field. But the best of the story was Vi- 
vonne's reply to the person who brought him the challenge. 
He was confined to his room by a wound in his arm, and, re- 
ceiving the condolence of the whole court, ignorant of the 
threat of his rival : " I, gentlemen," said he, " I fight ! He 
may fight if he pleases, but I defy him to make me fight. Let 
him get his shoulder broken, let the surgeon make twenty in- 
cisions in his arm, and then " — it was thought he was going 
to say, we will fight — " and then," said he, " perhaps we may 
be friends. But the man must be jesting to think of firing at 
me ! A pretty project, truly ! He might as well fire at the 
door of a house.* I repent, however, having saved his life in 
crossing the Rhine, and will do no more such generous actions 
till I have the nativity cast of those I intend to assist. Would 
any one have thought, when I was remounting this fellow on 
his horse, that a few weeks afterward .he would want to shoot 
me through the head for my kindness ?" This speech, from 
the tone and manner in which it was delivered, had so droll 
an effect, that nothing else is talked of at St. Germain. 

I found your siege of Orange very much magnified at court. 
The king had spoken of it very agreeably, and it was thought 
highly honorable to M. de Grignan, that, without the king's 
order, and merely to follow him, seven hundred gentlemen 
should have assembled upon the occasion ; for the king having 
said seven hundred, every one else said seven hundred ; it was 
added, with a laugh, that two hundred litters also followed 
him. But it is thought, seriously, that few governors could 
have obtained such a retinue. 

I have had two hours' conversation at two different times 
with M. de Pomponne. He exceeds my most sanguine hopes. 
Mademoiselle de Lavocat is in our confidence : she is a very 

* M. de Yivonne was remarkably corpulent 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 95 

amiable girl. She knows all our affairs — the business of the 
syndic, of the procurator, our gratuity, opposition, deliberation, 
etc., as well as she does the map of the empire and the interest 
of princes ; that is, she has them at her ringer's end. We call 
her the little minister. We have interludes in our conversa- 
tion, which M. de Pomponne calls flashes of rhetoric to secure 
the good humor of the audience. There are some points in 
your letters I can not reply to ; we often answer ridiculously 
when we write from such a distance. You know how grieved 
we once were at the loss of some town, when they had been 
rejoicing for ten days at Paris because the Prince of Orange 
had raised the siege ; but this is one of the evils of distance. 
Adieu, my beloved child ; I embrace you very affectionately. 



LETTER XXXI. 

Paris, Friday, Dec. 22, 1673. 

A piece of political news is just come into my head, and, 
contrary to my custom, I shall give it you. You know the 
King of Poland* is dead. The grand "marshal,f the husband 
of Mademoiselle d'Arquien, is at the Itead of an army against 
the Turks ; he has lately gained so complete a victory over them, 
that fifteen thousand were left dead on the field of battle, two 
bashaws are taken prisoners, and he himself occupies their 
general's tent. After so distinguished a victory, it is not in the 
least doubted that he will be declared king, especially as he 
is at the head of such an army, and that fortune generally 
declares in favor of numerous battalions. This piece of news 
has given me pleasure. 

I never now see the Chevalier de Buous. He is enraged at 

* Michael Koribert Wiesnowieski, who died November 1613. 

f John Sobieski, elected King of Poland, May 20, 1674. He mar- 
ried the grand-daughter of Marshal d'Arquien, who, after his death, 
returned to France. The victory Sobieski gained in 1685, under the 
walls of Vienna, and which saved the emperor and the empire, is still 
more celebrated than that which is here spoken of. 



96 LETTERS TO 

not being made a chef (Pescadre.* He is at St. Germain, and 
I am in hopes he will manage his affairs so well as to ob- 
tain his desire at last : I sincerely wish it. The Archbishop 
(of Aries) has written to assure me of the joy the affair of 
Orange has given him, and that he hopes that of the Syndi- 
cate will end no less happily. He finds himself obliged to 
own, by the event, that your vigor was of more service than 
his prudence, and that from your example he is become a per 
feet bravo. This has rejoiced me exceedingly. 

And now, my dear child, when I picture you to myself, pale 
and thin, when I think of the agitations you endure, and that 
the slightest degree of fever endangers your life, I suffer night 
and day from apprehensions for you. What happiness would it 
be to have you with me, in a less destructive climate, in your 
native air, which would again restore you to health and vigor ! 
I am surprised that loving you as the Provencals do, they do 
not urge this remedy to you. I consider you as having been 
so useful till now, and as having relieved M. de Grignan so 
much in all his affairs, that I dare not regret I did not bring 
you with me ; but when every thing is finished, why not give 
me this satisfaction ? Adieu, my dearest child, I am very im- 
patient to hear from you. You would throw yourself into the 
fire, you say, to convince me of your love : my child, I have 
no doubt of your affection, and without this extraordinary 
proof of it, you may give me a much more pleasing and a 
much more convincing one. 



LETTER XXXn. 

Paris, Friday, December 29, 1673. 
• M. de Luxembourg is a little pressed near Maestricht, by 
the army of M. de Montereif and the Prince of Orange ; he 
dares not venture to remove his camp, and he must perish 

* A rank somewhat inferior to that of rear-admiral. 
f Governor of the Spanish Low Countries. 



MADAME DE ORIGNAN. 97 

where he is, unless they send him speedy and effectual succor 
The prince is to set out four days hence with the duke and 
M. de Turenne ; the latter is to serve under the two princes, 
and there is a perfectly good understanding between the 
three. They have twenty thousand foot, and ten thousand 
horse ; the volunteers and those companies which are not to 
march, do not go, but all the rest do. La Trousse and my 
son, who arrived here yesterday, are to be of the number ; 
they have scarcely had time to pull off their boots before they 
are in the mud again. The rendezvous is appointed at Char- 
leroi, on the 16 th of January. D'Hacqueville has written you 
word of this, but you will read it more distinctly in my letter.* 
It is certainly very important news, and has occasioned a great 
bustle every where. We know not what to do for money. It 
is certain M. de Turenne is not on terms with M. de Louvois, 
but it is not generally known ; and while he continues to 
keep in with M. Colbert, there will be nothing said about it. 
This afternoon I had some great folks with me, who desired 
their compliments to M. de Grignan, and to Grignan's wife. 
They were the grand-master, and the charmer. \ I had be- 
sides, Brancas, the Archbishop of Rheirns, Charot, La Trousse, 
etc., who all in like manner desired to be remembered to you. 
They talk of nothing but war. The charmer knows all our 
affairs, and enters admirably into our little perplexities. He 
is governor of a province, which is sufficient to give him an 
idea of our feelings on those subjects. Adieu, my dearest 
child. I participate in all the joys of your conquests. 



LETTER XXXIII. 

Paris, Monday, New Tear's Day, 1674 
I wish you a happy year, my child ; and in this wish I com- 
prehend so many things, that I should never have done if I 

* M. d'Hacqueville wrote a hand very difficult to be read. 
\ The Count de Lude and the Duke de Yilleroi. 

5 



98 LETTERS TO 

were to enumerate them. I have not yet asked leave ior you 
to return to Paris, as you feared ; but I wish you had heard 
what La Garde said of the necessity of your coming hither, 
that you may not lose your five thousand francs, and of what 
he thinks proper for M. de Grignan to say to the king. If it 
were a suit which you were obliged to solicit against any one 
who designed to injure you, you would doubtless come to so- 
licit it ; but as it is to come to a place where you have a 
thousand other affairs, you are both guilty of the greatest in- 
dolence. Ah, what an enchanting thing is indolence ! you 
feel its power too much ; read La Garde upon this subject, 
chapter the first. Consider, in the mean time, that you would 
have the pleasure of seeing the king, and receiving his appro- 
bation. 

The edicts are revoked which gave us so much uneasiness 
in our province. The day that M. de Ghaulnes declared it to 
the States, there was a cry of " Long live the king !" whioh. 
made every one present weep for joy. They embraced each 
other, broke out into the highest expressions of rapture, or- 
dered Te Deum to be sung, made bonfires ; and the thanks of 
the public were given to M. de Chaulnes. But do you know 
what we are to give the king as a mark of our gratitude ? six 
hundred thousand livres, and as much more by way of a vol- 
untary gratuity. What think you of this little sum ? You 
may judge by this of the favor that has been done us, in tak- 
ing off the burden of these edicts. 

My poor son has arrived here, as you know ; he is to return 
on Thursday, with many others. M. de Monterei is a very 
clever fellow ; he disturbs the whole world, he fatigues the 
army, and puts it out of condition to take the field, and begin 
the campaign, till the end of the spring. The troops were all at 
ease in winter-quarters ; and when, after a tedious march, they 
are arrived at Charleroi, he has only a single step to take to 
make good his retreat — till when, M. de Luxembourg can not 
be extiicated. By appearances, the king will not set out so 
soon as he did last year. If, when in the field, we had to 



MADAME DE 6RIGNAN. 99 

mate an attack on some great town, or the enemy would 
come out and oppose our two heroes, as we should probably 
beat him, peace might almost be depended upon. This is 
what is said by persons of the profession. It is certain that 
M. de Turenne is out of favor with M. de Louvois ; but as he 
is in favor with the king and M. Colbert, it has not made 
much noise. 

Five ladies of the palace are appointed : Madame de Sou- 
bise, Madame de Chevreuse, the Princess d'Harcourt, Madame 
d'Albret, and Madame de Eochefort. The maids of honor are 
to serve no more, and Madame de Richelieu as a lady of 
honor, is also discharged. There are to be only the gentle- 
men in waiting, and the maitres-d'hotel, as formerly. But 
that the queen may not be without women, Madame de 
Richelieu and four other ladies are to wait constantly behind 
her chair. Brancas is in raptures that his daughter* is so well 
provided for. 

The Grand Marshal of Poland has sent a letter to the king, 
in which he tells his majesty, that if he has any person in 
view to raise to the crown of Poland, he will assist him with 
all the forces under his command ; and if not, requests his 
protection and assistance for himself. The king has promised 
it to him. However^ it is imagined he will not get himself 
elected, because he is not of the established religion of the 
nation. 



LETTER XXXIV. 

Paris, Friday, Jan. 5, 1674. 
It is a year ago this very day since we supped with the 
archbishop : at this moment perhaps you are supping with the 
intendant : I am afraid, my dear child, your mirth is feigned. 
All you say on this subject to me, and to Corbinelli, is admi- 
rable. My heart thanks you for the good opinion you hav/» 

* The Princess d'Harcourt. 



100 LETTERS TO 

of me, in believing I hold in abhorrence all villainous proceed- 
ings. You are not deceived. 

M. de Grignan tells you true ; Madame de Thiange has left 
off paint, and covers her neck ; you would hardly know hei 
in this disguise. She is frequently with Madame de Longue- 
ville, and is the very pink of modish devotion. But she is 
still good company, and has not at all the air of a recluse. 
I dined with her the other day ; a servant brought her a glass 
of liquor ; she turned to me and said, " The fellow does not 
know that I am become a devotee ;" this made us all laugh. 
She spoke very naturally of her intentions, and of her change. 
She is very cautious of saying any thing that may injure the 
reputation of her neighbor, and stops short when any thing oi 
that nature escapes her ; for my part, I think her more agree- 
able than ever. Wagers are laid that the Princess d'Har- 
court will not turn nun these twelve months, now she is be- 
come a lady of the palace, and paints again : this rouge is the 
law and the prophets ; it, is the great point that our new de- 
votion turns upon. As for the Duchess d'Aumont, her taste 
is burying the dead.* They say the Duchess de Charost kills 
people for her, with ill-compounded medicines, and then buries 
them in a religious retreat. The Marchioness d'Huxelles is 
very good ; but La Marans is more than good. Madame de 
Schomberg tells me very seriously that she is of the first 
order for seclusion and penitence, not admitting any society, 
and refusing even the amusements of devotion ; in a word, 
she is a penitent in the true sense of the word, and in all the 
simplicity of the primitive church. 

The ladies of the palace are kept in great subjection. The 
king has explained himself upon this subject, and will have 
the queen always attended by them. Madame de Eichelieu, 

* If we may believe Bussy, she rendered a service of a different kind 
to the living. The Duchess of Charost was the daughter of the Super- 
intendent Fouquet. She apparently had her recipe from her grand- 
n ;ther, by whom we have a printed collection in two volumes, under 
ie title of Family Recipes by Madame Fouquet. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 101 

though she does not serve any longer at table, is always pres- 
ent when the queen dines, with four ladies, who wait by turns. 
The Countess d'Ayen* is the sixth : she does not like the con- 
finement of this attendance, and of being constantly at ves- 
pers, sermons, and other religious ceremonies ; but there is no 
perfect happiness in this world. The Marchioness de Castel- 
nau is fair, blooming, and perfectly recovered from her grief. 
I? Eclair, they say, has only changed her apartment at court, 
not very much to her satisfaction. Madame de Louvigny does 
not seem sufficiently delighted at her good fortune. She is 
thought unpardonable for not adoring her husband in the 
same manner as when she was first married ; this is the first 
time the public was ever offended at a thing of this nature. 
Madame de Brissac is beautiful, and follows the Princess of 
Conti like her shadow. La Coetquen is still the same as ever. 
She has a petticoat of black velvet, embroidered with gold and 
silver, and a brocade cloak. This dress cost her an immense 
sum ; and when she thought she made the most splendid fig- 
ure imaginable, every one said she was dressed like an actress ; 
and she has been so much rallied in consequence, that she has 
thrown it aside. La Manierosaf is a little vexed at not being 
a lady of the palace. Madame de Duras, who would not ac- 
cept this honor, laughs at her. La Troche is, as usual, very 
much interested in your affairs ; but I can not express how 
strongly Madame de la Fayette and M. de la Rochefoucault 
have your interest at heart. 

Madame de la Fayette and I went to see M. de Turenne a 
few days ago ; he has a slight fit of the gout. He received 
us with great civility, and talked much of you. The Cheva- 
lier de Grignan has given him an account of your victories ; 
he would have offered you his sword if there had been any 
occasion for it. He intends to set out in three days. My son 
went yesterday very much out of humor : I was not less so, 
at this ill-judged and in every respect disagreeable journey. 

* A feigned name. 

f Mary Frances de Bournouville, afterward Marchioness de Noaillea 



102 LETTERS TO 

The dauphin saw Madame Schomberg the other day ; they 
told him his grandfather had been in love with her : he asked 
in a whisper, " How many children has she had by him ?" 
They informed him of the manners* of that time. 

The Duke du Mainef has been seen at court, but he has not 
yet visited the queen : he was in a coach, and saw only his 
father and mother. 

The Chevalier de Chatillon has no longer any thing to seek 
for ; his fortune is made. Monsieur chose rather to give him 
the- office of captain of his guards, than Mademoiselle de 
Grancey that of lady of the wardrobe. This young man 
therefore has the post of Vaillac, and is well provided for : 
they say Vaillac is to have D'Albon's, and that D'Albon is dis- 
carded. I told you how our States ended, and that they re- 
purchased the edicts at two millions six hundred thousand 
livres, and gave the same sum as a gratuitous gift, making to- 
gether ^ve million two hundred thousand livres ; that the air 
was rent with cries of " Long live the king !" that we had 
bonfires, and sung Te Deum, because his majesty was kind 
enough to accept it. Poor Sanzei is ill with the measles ; it is 
a disorder that soon passes, but is alarming from its violence. 

I see no reason to ask the king's pardon for the humane 
gentleman who was guilty of assassination ; the crime is of 
too black a nature. The criminals who were pardoned at 
Rouen were not of this stamp ; it is the only crime the king 
refuses to pardon. So Beavron has mentioned it to the Abbe 
de Grignan. 

* Madame de Schomberg who is here spoken of, mother of the mar- 
shal then living, captivated Louis XIII. when she was only a maid of 
honor, by the name of Mademoiselle d'Hautefort. The king's gal- 
lantry exacted so little, that she even jested upon the subject, and said 
he talked to her of nothing but dogs, horses, and hunting. She was 
handsome and discreet. She attached herself to Queen Anne of Aus- 
tria, and shared her disgrace during the life of Louis XIII. She after- 
ward quarreled with her during the regency, for having spoken too 
freely against Cardinal Mazarin. 

f The king's eldest son by Madame de Montespan. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 103 

I have heard the ladies at the palace spoken of in a way 
that made me laugh. I said with Montaigne, " Let us avenge 
ourselves, by slandering them." It is, however, true that they 
are under extreme subjection. 

The report still prevails, that the prince sets out on Monday. 
The same day M. de Saint Luc is to espouse Mademoiselle de 
Pompadour ; about this I am quite indifferent. 

Adieu, my dear ; this letter is growing too long ; I conclude 
it for no other reason but because every thing must have an 
end. I embrace Grignan, and beg him to forgive me for 
opening Madame de Guise's letter ; I was very desirous to see 
her style ; my curiosity is satisfied forever. 

Guilleragues said yesterday, that Pelisson^ 
mission men have to be ugly.* 



LETTER XXXV. 




Paris, Friday, 

Well, your peace is then concluded at last. The Archbishop 
of Rheims and Brancas received their letters before I did 
mine ; M. de Pomponne sent to inform me of this important 
event from St. Germain ; I was ignorant, however, of the par- 
ticulars, but now I know all. I advise you, my child, to reg- 
ulate your conduct by circumstances ; and since it is the king's 
will that you should be friendly with the bishop,f endeavor to 
obey him. But to return to St. Germain : I was there three 
days ago ; I went first to M. de Pomponne's, who had not yet 
applied for your leave of absence, but is to send for it to-day 
From thence we went to the queen's ; I was with Madame de 
Chaulnes ; there was nobody to talk but me, and you may be 
sure I was not deficient. The queen said without hesitation 
that you had been absent for more than three years, and that 

* An expression that is become common, but which was new at 
that time, or it would not have been worth noticing. 
f Of Marseilles. 



104 LETTERS TO 

it was time for your return. From court we went to Madame 
de Colbert's, who is extremely civil and well bred. Mademoi- 
selle de Blois* danced ; she is very pleasing and graceful. 
Desairs says she is the only one who reminds him of you : he 
asked me what I thought of her dancing, for my applause was 
required, and I gave it with the greatest readiness. The 
Duchess de la Valliere was there ; she calls her little daughter 
mademoiselle, and the young princess in return calls her pretty 
mamma. M. de Vermandois was there too. No other chil- 
dren have yet made their appearance. We afterward went 
to pay our respects to monsieur and madame ; the former has 
not forgotten you, and I never fail to present your dutiful ac- 
knowledgments to him. I met Vivonne there, who accosted 
me with, " Little mamma, I beg you will embrace the Gov- 
ernor of Champagne"! — " And pray who is he ?" said I. — 
" Myself," replied he. — " You !" said I ; " pray who told you 
so ?" — " The king has just informed me of it." I instantly con- 
gratulated him. The Countess de Soissons was in hopes of 
getting this post for her son. 

There is no talk of taking the seals from the chancellor ;J 
the good man was so surprised at this additional honor, that 
he began to fear a snake in the grass, and could not compre- 
hend the reason of being thus loaded with dignities : " Sire," 
said he to the king, " does your majesty intend to take the 
seals from me ?" — " No, no, chancellor," replied the king, " go, 
sleep in peace." And, indeed, they say he is almost always 
asleep ; there are many wise conjectures on the subject, and 
people can not understand the reason of this augmentation of 
favors. 

The prince set out the day before yesterday, and M. de 
Turenne is to follow to-day. Write to Brancas to congratulate 

* She had been educated by Madame Colbert. 

jf This government was vacated by the death of Eugene Maurice, oi 
Saxony, Count de Soissons, which happened June 7, 1673. 

{ Stephen d'Aligre was keeper of the seals in 1672, upon the death 
of Chancellor Seguier, who was made Chancellor of France in 1674. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN, 105 

him on his daughter's being in the queen's household, for he 
is very proud of it. La Troche returns you many thanks for 
your kind remembrance of her. Her son has still nose enough 
to lose half of it at the next siege, without the loss being very 
apparent. It is said that the Dew* begins to be less friendly 
with the Torrent, and that after the siege of Maastricht, they 
entered into a league of mutual confidence, and saw the Fire 
and the Snow every day of their lives. You know all this 
could not last long without occasioning great tumult, nor with- 
out being discovered. The Hail\ seems to me, with respect 
to the reconciliation between you and him, like a man who 
goes to confession, and keeps one great sin upon his conscience 
— by what other name can you call the trick he has played 
you ? Still the wise heads say you must speak, you must ask, 
you have time, and that is sufficient ; but do not wonder at 
the faggoting of my letters. I leave one subject, you think I 
have done with it, and suddenly I resume it again, versi sciolti. 
Do you know that the Marquis de Sessac is here, that he will 
have a situation in the army, and will probably soon be pre- 
sented to the king ? This is manifestly predestination. 

Corbinelli and I talk of Providence every day, and we say, 
as you know, from day to day and hour to hour, that your 
journey is determined. You are very glad that you have not 
to answer for this affair, for a resolution is a wonderful thing 
for you, quite a wild beast. I have seen you a long time de- 
ciding on a color : it is a proof of a too enlightened mind, 
which, seeing at one glance all the difficulties, remains sus- 
pended, as it were, like Mohammed's tomb : such was M. Bignon, 
the greatest wit of the age ; I, who am the least of the present 
age, hate uncertainty, and love decision. M. de Pomponne 

* The Dew, the Torrent, the Fire, and the Snow, etc., are ciphers be- 
tween the mother and daughter. These ciphers do not always mean 
the same persons. In this place, it seems that Madame de Montespan 
is the Torrent, Madame de Valliere the Dew, the king is the Fire, and 
the Snow represents the queen. 

f Apparently the Bishop of Marseilles. 

5* 



106 LETTERS TO 

informs me you received your leave of absence to-day ; I am 
consequently ready to do every thing you wish, and to follow, 
or not to follow, the advice of your friends. 

It is said here that M. de Turenne has not yet begun his 
march, and that there is no further occasion for it, because M. 
de Monterei has at last retreated, and M. de Luxembourg is 
freed, with the assistance of five or six thousand men, whom 
M. de Schomberg assembled, and with whom he so extremely 
harassed M. de Monterei, that he was obliged to retire with 
his troops. The prince is to be recalled and all our poor 
friends with him. This is the news of the day. 

The ball was dull, and ended at half past eleven. The king 
led out the queen ; the dauphin, madame ; monsieur, made- 
moiselle ; the Prince de Conde, the great mademoiselle ; the 
Count de Roche-sur-Yon, Mademoiselle de Bois, handsome as 
an angel, dressed in black velvet, with a profusion of diamonds, 
and an apron and stomacher of point lace. The Princess 
d'Harcourt was as pale as the Commandeur in the play Du Fes- 
tin de Pierre. M. de Pomponne has desired me to dine with 
him to-morrow, to meet Despreaux, who is to read his Art of 
Poetry. 



LETTER XXXVI. 

Parts, Monday, January 15, 1674. 
Saturday last I dined with M. de Pomponne, as I told you, 
and was there till five o'clock, enchanted, transported, enrap- 
tured with the beauties of Despreaux's Art of Poetry. 
D'Hacqueville was there, we often talked of the pleasure you 
would have received from it. M. de Pomponne recollected 
that one day when you were a very little girl at your Uncle 
de Sevigne's, you got behind a large window with your 
brother, and said you were a prisoner, a poor unfortunate 
princess driven from your father's house ; your brother, who 
was as hansome as yourself, and you were as handsome as an an- 
gel, played his part extremely well. You were nine years of age. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 107 

He made me remember the day perfectly. He never forgets 
one moment that he has seen you, and promises himself great 
pleasure in seeing you again, which is very gratifying to me. I 
own to you, my dear, that my heart is bursting with joy, 
but I shall conceal it till I know your resolution. 

M. de Villars is returned home from Spain, and has given 
us a thousand amusing anecdotes respecting the Spaniards. I 
have at length seen La Marans in her cell, for it is nothing else. 
I found her quite in dishabille, not a single hair to be seen, 
with a coarse coif of old Venice point, a black handkerchief 
on her neck, a faded gray gown, and an old petticoat. She 
seemed very glad to see me ; we embraced each other tenderly. 
She does not seem at all changed. We began the conversa- 
tion by talking of you ; she appears to love you as well as she 
ever did, and seemed so humble that it is impossible to help 
loving her. We then talked of the religious life she had lately 
embraced. She assured me it was true that God had vouch- 
safed her a great portion of grace, of which she had the most 
grateful sense ; that this grace consists in great faith, profound 
love of God, horror of the world and its vanities, and a thor- 
ough distrust of herself, adding, that if she were to go abroad 
for only an hour, this divine spirit would evaporate. In short, 
she seems to preserve it carefully in her solitude like a bottle 
of fine perfume ; she believes the world would make her lose 
this precious liquor, and she even fears the parade of devotion 
might spill it. Madame de Schomberg says she is not to be 
compared to Madame de Marans. Her savage disposition is 
softened into a passion for retirement ; the disposition does not 
change ; she is even exempt from the folly common to most 
women, to love their confessor ; she does not approve this tie, and 
never speaks to him but at confession. She goes on foot to her 
parish church, reads all our books of religion, works, prays, has 
a fixed time for every thing, takes all her meals in her own 
room, sees Madame de Schomberg at a certain hour, hates 
news as much as she used to like it, is as charitable to others 
as she used to slander them, and loves the Creator as much aa 



108 LETTERS TO 

she loved the creature. We laughed a good deal at her form* 
er manners, and turned them into ridicule. She has not the 
least air of the Collette sisters. She speaks very sincerely and 
very agreeably of her situation. I was two hours with her 
without being at all dull. She reproached herself even for 
this pleasure, but without the least affectation ; in short, she is 
much more amiable than she ever was. I do not think, my 
dear child, you can complain that I have not been particular 
enough. 

I have just received your letter of the 7th. I own to you, my 
dearest, that the joy it has given me is so lively that my heart 
can scarcely contain it. You know how strongly it feels, and 
I should hate myself if I were so warmly interested in my 
own affairs as in yours. At last, my child, you are coming ; 
this is the most delightful to me of all. But I am going to 
tell you something you do not expect, which is, that I sol- 
emnly swear to you that if M. de la Garde had not deemed 
your journey expedient, and that if it really were not so for 
your own affairs, I would not have taken into consideration, 
at least for this year, the ardent desire I have to see you, nor 
what you owe to my infinite affection. I know how to keep 
within the bounds of reason, whatever it cost me, and I have 
sometimes as much strength in my weakness as those who are 
wiser. After this sincere confession I can not conceal from 
you that I am penetrated with joy, and that, reason concur- 
ring with my wishes, I am, at the moment I write to you, 
perfectly satisfied, so that I think of nothing now but of re- 
ceiving you. Do you know, the best thing after yourself and 
M. de Grignan, would be to bring the coadjutor ? You will 
not perhaps always have La Garde ; and if he fails you, you 
well know M. de Grignan is not so zealous in his own affairs 
as in those of the king, his master. He has a religious care 
of those, which can only be compared to his negligence with 
regard to his own. When he will take the trouble to speak, 
no one does it better, and we can not therefore but wish it. 
You are not like Madame de Cauvisson, to act alone ; you 



MADAME DE GBI6NAN. 109 

must wait eight or ten years. But M. de Grignan, you, and 
the coadjutor, would do admirably together. Cardinal de 
Retz is just arrived, and will be delighted to see you. What 
joy, my dear child, will your return occasion ! but, above all 
things, come prudently. It is to M. de Grignan I give this 
charge, and I expect him to be accountable to me. I have 
written to the coadjutor, to entreat him to accompany you. 
He will facilitate our audience with the two ministers, and 
will support his brother's interest. The coadjutor is bold and 
fortunate, and you will mutually heighten each other's conse- 
quence. I could talk till this time to-morrow upon the sub- 
ject. I have written to the archbishop. Gain my point with 
the coadjutor, and give him my letter. 

The prince has come back, after having been thirty leagues 
on his journey. M. de Turenne did not go. M. de Monterei 
has withdrawn his forces, and M. de Luxembourg is now at 
liberty. Within these twenty-four hours the chapel at St. 
Germain has been robbed of a silver lamp, worth seventy 
thousand francs, and six candlesticks of the same metal, each 
of them taller than I am. This is a daring insolence.* The 
ropes they made use of to get in were found by the Richelieu 
gallery. No one can conceive how the robbery could have 
been committed, for there are guards continually going that 
way, and patrolling about all night. 

Do you know that peace is talked of? M. de Chaulnes is 
since come from Brittany, and is to set out again immediately 
for Cologne. 

* The Duke of Saint-Simon relates a still more extraordinary robbery 
that took place at Versailles. In one night all the gold ornaments and 
fringes were stolen from the state apartment, from the gallery to the 
chapel. Whatever inquiries were made, no trace could be found of the 
robber. But five or six days after, the king being at supper, an enor- 
mous packet fell suddenly upon the table at some distance from him ; 
it contained the stolen fringes, with a note fastened to it with these 
words, " Bontems, take thy fringes again, the pleasure pays not half 
the pain." Saint-Simon was a witness of this. 



110 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXXVII. 



Paris, Monday, February 5, 1674. 

It is many years ago, to-day, that there came into the world 
a creature destined to love you beyond every other thing in 
existence.* I beg you not to suffer your imagination to wan- 
der either to the right hand or to the left : — Cet homme la^ 
sire, c'etait moi-meme.\ 

It was yesterday three years that I felt the most poignant 
grief of my whole life. You set out at that time for Provence, 
and you remain there still. My letter would be very long, if 
I attempted to express all the sorrow I then felt, and what I 
have since felt, in consequence of this separation. But to 
leave this melancholy digression. I have received no letters 
from you to-day. I know not whether I am to expect any, 
and I fear not, as it is so late ; I have, however, expected 
them with impatience ; I wanted to hear of your departure 
from Aix, and to be able to compute, with some exactness, the 
time of your return. Every one teases me, and I know not 
what to answer. I think but of you and your journey. If I 
receive any letters from you after this is sent away, you may 
make yourself perfectly easy ; for 1 will certainly take care 
to do whatever you desire me. 

I write to-day a little earlier than usual. M. Corbinelli, and 
Mademoiselle de Meri, are here, and have dined with me. I 
am going to a little opera of Moliere's, that is to be sung at 
Jellison's. It is an excellent composition ; the prince, the 
duke, and the duchess, will be there. I shall, perhaps, sup at 
Gourville's, with Madame de la Fayette, the duke, Madame de 
Thianges, and M. de Vivonne, of whom we are to take our 
leave, as he sets out from hence to-morrow. If this party is 
broken up, I shall, perhaps, go to Madame de Chaulnes, where 

* She refers to her birth-day, 5th February, 1626. 
f A line of Marot, iu an epistle to Francis I. This man, sire, was 
myself. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. Ill 

t am earnestly invited, as well by the mistress of the house as 
by Cardinals de Retz and Bouillon, who made me promise 
them. The first of f hese is very impatient to see you; he 
loves you dearly. 

It was apprehended that Mademoiselle de Blois had the 
small-pox, but it does not prove so. There is not a word said 
of the news from England ; this makes me conclude there is 
nothing good from thence. There has been only a ball or two 
at Paris during the whole carnival ; there were masques at 
noon, but not many. It is a very dull season. The assemblies 
at St. Germain are mortifications for the king, and only show 
the falling off of the carnival. 

Father Bourdaloue preached a sermon on the purification 
of our Lady, which transported every body. There was such 
energy in his discourse as made the courtiers tremble. Never 
did preacher enforce with so much authority, and in so noble 
a manner, the great truths of the Gospel. His design was to 
show that every power ought to be subject to the law, from 
the examph of our Lord, who was presented at the temple. 
This was insisted on with all the strength and clearness im- 
aginable ; and certain points were urged with a force worthy 
of St. Paul himself. 

The Archbishop of Rheims, as he returned yesterday from 
St. Germain, met with a curious adventure. He drove at his 
usual rate, like a whirlwind. If he thinks himself a great man, 
his servants think him still greater. They passed through 
Nanterre, when they met a man on horseback, and in an in- 
solent tone bid him clear the way. The poor man used his 
utmost endeavors to avoid the danger that threatened him, 
but his horse proved unmanageable. To make short of it, the 
coach and six turned them both topsy-turvy ; but at the same 
time the coach too was completely overturned. In an instant the 
horse and the man, instead of amusing themselves with having 
their limbs broken, rose almost miraculously; the man re- 
mounted, and galloped away, and is galloping still for aught I 
know; while the servants, the archbishop's coachman, and 



112 LETTERS TO 

the archbishop himself at the head of them, cried out, " Stop 
that villain, stop him ; thrash him soundly." The rage of the 
archbishop was so great, that afterward, in relating the ad- 
venture, he said, "if he could have caught the rascal, he would 
have broke all his bones, and cut off both his ears. 

Adieu, my dear, delightful child, I can not express my eager- 
ness to see you. I shall direct this letter to Lyons ; it is the 
third ; the two first were to be left with the chamarier. You 
must be got thither by this time or never. 



LETTER XXXVIII. 



Paris, Friday, May 31, 1675. 

I have received only your first letter yet, my dear child ; 
but that is invaluable. I have seen nothing since your ab- 
sence, and every fresh person reminds me of it ; they talk to 

me of you ; they pity me ; they but stop ; is it not such 

thoughts as these we should pass lightly over ? Let us then 
do so. 

I was yesterday at Madame de Verneuil's in my way from 
St. Maur, where I had been with Cardinal de Retz. At the 
Hotel de Sully, I met Mademoiselle de Launoi,* who is just 
married to the old Count de Mbntrevel ; the wedding was kept 
there ; you never saw a bride so pert ; she bustles about the 
house, and calls husband, as if she had been married for 
twenty years. This same husband of hers, you must know, is 
very much troubled with the ague ; he expected his fit the 
day after he was married, but missed it ; upon which Fieubet 
said, " We have found a remedy for the ague, but who can 
tell us the dose ?" Mesdames des Castelnau, Louvigny, Sulli, 
and Fiesque, were there. I leave you to guess what these 

* Adriana-Philippa-Theresa de Launoi, who had been maid of honor 
to the queen, was married to James-Mary de la Baume Montrevel in 
1675, and not in 1672, as it is said by mistake in the history of the 
great officers of the crown. 



MADAME DE GRIG^AN. 113 

charming women said to me. My friends are too solicitous 
about me *,• they harass me ; but I do not lose a single mo- 
ment that I can spend with our dear cardinal. These letters 
will inform you of the arrival of the coadjutor ; I saw and em- 
braced him this morning. He is to have a conference this 
evening with his eminence and M. d'Hacqueville on the steps 
he is to take. He has hitherto remained incog. 

The Duchess has lost Mademoiselle d'Enghein ; one of her 
sons is going to die besides ; her mother is ill ; Madame de 
Langeron is already under ground ; the prince and the duke 
in the army ; ample subjects for tears, and, as I am told, she 
is not sparing of them. I leave D'Hacqueville to tell you the 
news of the war ; and the Grignans to write to you about the 
chevalier ; if he should return hither, I will take as much care 
of him as of my own son. I imagine you are now upon the 
tranquil Saone ; our minds ought to resemble this calm view, 
but our hearts perpetually seduce them ; mine is wholly with 
my daughter. I have already told you, that my greatest diffi- 
culty is to divert my thoughts from you, for they all tend to 
the same point. 



LETTER XXXIX. 



Paris, "Wednesday, June 5, 16*75. 
I have not received any of your letters since that from Sens ; 
you will therefore easily conceive how anxious I am to be in- 
formed of your health and safety. I am fully persuaded you 
have written to me # and complain of nothing but the manage- 
ment, or rather mismanagement of the post. According to 
the calculations of your friends here, you should be by this 
time at Grignan, unless you were detained at Lyons during 
the holidays. In short, my dear child, I have accompanied 
you step by step all the way, and am in hopes the Rhone be- 
haved with proper respect to you. I have been at Livri with 
Corbinelli ; but returned here with all the haste I could, that . 



114 LETTERS TO 

I might not lose a moment in seeing our dear cardinal. The 
great affection he has for you, and the long friendship which 
has subsisted between him and me, have attached me to him 
very sincerely ; I see him every evening from eight till ten, 
and I think he is very glad to have me with him till his bed- 
time. Our conversation is constantly about you ; this is a 
subject we are fond of expatiating upon, and indeed it seems 
the master-sentiment of both hearts. He is for coming hither, 
but I can not bear this house when you are not in it. 

The nuncio informed him yesterday that he had just learned 
by a courier from Rome that he was appointed to a cardinal- 
ship. The pope* has lately made a promotion of his crea- 
tures, as it is called. The crowns are put off for the ) five 
or six years, and consequently M. de Marseilles.f The . incio 
told Bonvoulour, who went to congratulate him on his promo- 
tion, that he hoped his holiness would not now accept Cardi- 
nal de Retz's resignation of his hat ; that he should use all his 
endeavors to dissuade his holiness from doing so, as he had 
the honor of being his colleague : so now we have another 
cardinal, Cardinal de Spada. Cardinal de Retz sets out on 
Tuesday ; I dread the day ; for I shall suffer extremely in lot 
ing so valuable a friend : his courage seems to increase in pn 
portion as that of his friend diminishes. 

The Duchess de la Valliere pronounced her vows yester 
day .J Madame de Villars promised to take me to see it ; but 
by some misunderstanding we thought we should not get places. 
Nothing more, however, was necessary than to present our- 

* Clement X. 

f Toussaint de Forbin-Janson, Bishop of Marseilles, and afterward 
Bish6p of Beauvois, was not made cardinal till 1690, at the promotion 
by Alexander VIII. 

\ For more than three years she had only received at court insults 
from her rival and unkindness from the king. She remained there, she 
said, merely from a spirit of penitence, and added, " When the life of 
a Carmelite appears to me too severe, I have only to call to mind what 
those persons made me suffer," pointing to the king and to Madame de 
Montespan. 






MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 115 

, selves at the door, though the queen had given out that the 
admission should not be general ; and, after all, we did not go. 
Madame de Villars was very much vexed at it. The beautiful 
duchess performed this action like every other of her life, in 
the most charming manner possible : she is surprisingly hand- 
some : but you will be astonished to hear that M. de Con- 
dom's (Bossuet's) sermon was not so good as was expected. 
The coadjutor was there ; he will tell you how well the affair 
goes on with respect to M. de Paris and M. de St. Paul ; but 
he finds the shade of M. de Toulon and the spirit of M. de 
Marseilles every where. 

Madame de Coulanges goes from hence on Monday with 
Corbinelli : this deprives me of my companions. You know 
how good Corbinelli is to me, and how kindly he enters into 
all my sentiments. I am convinced of his friendship, and feel 
his absence ; but, my child, after having lost you, of what else 
can I complain ? It is true that you are interested in my com- 
plaints, because he is one of those with whom I most enjoyed 
the consolation of speaking of you ; for you must not im- 
agine, that those to whom I can not speak freely are as 
agreeable to me as those who enter into my feelings. You 
seem to me to be apprehensive that I make myself ridiculous, 
and that I am too apt to divulge my sentiments on this pleas- 
ing subject. No, no, my dear, fear nothing ; I am able to 
govern the torrent. Trust to me, and let me love you, till it 
shall please God to take you out of my heart, in order to 
place himself there ; for you can yield to none but him. In 
short, my heart is so entirely occupied with, and so full of 
you, that finding myself incapable of any other thought, I have 
been restrained from performing the devotions of the season. 
Adieu, my dear child, for the present I shall finish my let- 
ter this evening. 

I have just received a letter from Macon ; I can not yet 
read it without the fountain playing its old tricks : my heart 
is so extremely sensible that the least thing that affects it 
quite overcomes me. You may imagine that, with this fine 



116 LETTERS TO 

disposition, I frequently meet with opportunities to try it ; bi^ , 
pray, have no fears for my health. I can never forget the 
philosophy you inspired me with the evening before we part- 
ed ; I improve by it as much as I can ; but I have such an 
habitual weakness, that in spite of your good lessons, I often 
yield to my emotion. 

Our cardinal will have left me before you receive this ; it 
will be a melancholy day to me, for I am extremely attached 
to his person, his merit, his conversation, which I enjoy as 
much as I can, and the friendship he expresses for me. His 
soul is of so superior an order that it is not to be expected 
that his life should be attended with only common events. lie 
that makes it a law to himself, to do always what is most great 
and heroic, must place his retreat in some proper part of his 
life, like a shade beautifully disposed in a piece of painting, 
and leave his friends to lament it. 

How facetious you are, my child, with the newspaper in 
your hand ! What ! can you derive amusement from it al- 
ready ? I did expect that you would at least have waited till 
you had crossed the vile Durance. The conversation between 
the king and the prince appears to me very humorous ; I 
think you would have been entertained with it even here. I 
have just received a letter from the chevalier, who is well ; 
he is with the army, and has only had five attacks of the 
ague : this is one subject of uneasiness less ; but his letter 
which is full of friendship, is in the true German style ; for he 
will not believe a syllable of the retreat of Cardinal de Retz : 
he desires me to tell him the truth, which I shall not fail to do. 
I shall distribute all your compliments, and I am sure, they 
will be well received ; every body thinks it an honor to be re- 
membered by you ; M. de Coulanges was quite proud of it. 
The coadjutor will relate to you the success of his journey ; 
but he will not boast that he was on the point of being stifled 
at Madame de Louvois' by twenty women, who each supposed 
they had a right to embrace him : this occasioned a confusion, 
an oppression, a suffocation, of which the bare idea almost 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 117 

suffocates me, accompanied by the most high-flown, reiterated, 
and affected compliments that it is possible to conceive : Ma- 
dame de Coulanges describes the scene very drolly. I wish you 
may have the company af Grignan you mention. My son is 
well ; he sends you a thousand remembrances. M. de Grig- 
nan will be very willing for me to embrace him, now that ht 
is no longer occupied with the bustle of the boat. 



LETTER XL. 

Paris, Friday, June 14, 1675. 
Instead of visiting you in your apartment, my dear child, I 
sit down to converse with you by letter ; when I am so unfor- 
tunate as not to have you with me, the most natural consola- 
tion I can find is to write to you, to receive your letters, to 
speak of you, or to take some step in your affairs. I passed 
the afternoon yesterday with Cardinal de Retz ; you can not 
possibly guess what we talk of when we are together. I al- 
ways begin by telling you that you can not love him too well, 
and that I think you happy in having so firmly fixed the kind- 
ness and affection he before felt for you. Let me know how 
you bear the air at Grignan, and whether it has already begun 
to prey upon you ; how you enjoy your health and how you 
look. Your picture is very pleasing, but far less so than youi 
person, without reckoning that it wants the power of speech 
Be not uneasy about my health ; the rule I observe at presen 
is, to be irregular ; I am not sensible of any indisposition ; x 
dine alone ; stay at home till five or six o'clock, and go in the 
evening, wljen I have no business of importance to keep me 
within, to the house of one of my friends. I walk or ride ac- 
cording to the distance, but I make eveiy thing yield to the 
pleasure of being with our cardinal. I lose not a moment he 
can spare me, and he is very obliging in this respect. I shall 
feel more sensibly his departure and his absence; but this 
does not prevent my indulging myself in the pleasure of his 



118 LETTEHS TO 

conversation; I never think of sparing myself ; after having 
endured the pangs of parting with you, I have nothing to fear 
from any less tender attachment. Were it not for him, and 
for your affairs, I should go a little to Livri ; but I make 
every consideration yield to these, which are above all my 
little pleasures. 

The queen went to see Madame de Montespan at Clagny 
on the day I told you she took her up in her carriage as she 
passed ; she went into her room, where she staid half an hour ; 
she then went into M. du Vexin's, who was a little indisposed 
and afterward took Madame de Montespan to Trianon, as I 
informed you. Some ladies have been at Clagny ; they found 
the fair lady so occupied with the building and enchantments 
that are preparing for her, that I fancy her like Dido building 
Carthage ; but the resemblance will not hold good in any 
other respect. M. de la Rochefoucault and Madame de la 
Fayette have entreated me to present their compliments to 
you. We fear you will have too much of the grand-duchess.* 
A prison is preparing for her at Montmartre, with which she 
would be frightened, if she did not hope to change it ; but she 
will be caught ; they are delighted in Tuscany to have got rid 
of her. Madame de Sully is gone ; Paris is become a desert. 
I already wish myself out of it. I dined yesterday with the 
coadjutor at the cardinal's : I have left him in charge to in- 
form you of that part of ecclesiastical history. M. Jolif 
preached at the opening of the assembly of the clergy, but as 
he took an ancient text, and preached only ancient doctrine, 
his sermon seemed a piece of antiquity altogether. It was a 
fine subject too for reflection. 

The queen dined to-day at the Carmelites de Bouloi, with 
Madame de Montespan, and Madame de Fontevraud ; you will 
see how this friendship will end. They say that M. de Tu- 
renne, as it were, conducts the enemy's troops to their quar- 

* Marguerite-Louise d'Orleans, daughter of Gaston de France Duka 
of Orleans, and of Marguerite de Lorraine, his second wife. 
f Claude Joli, Bishop of Agen. 



MA AME DE GRIGNAN, 119 

ters. My heart is uracil oppressed with the thoughts of losing 
the cardinal ; the repeated intercourse of friendship and con- 
versation which has so lately passed between us, redoubles my 
grief ; he goes to-morrow. I have not yet received your let- 
ters. Believe, my dear, that it is not possible to love you 
more than I love you ; nothing animates me but what has 
some relation to you. Madame de Rochebonne has written 
to me very affectionately ; she told me with what feelings you 
received and read my letters at Lyons. I see, my dear, you 
are grown weak as well as I. 

D'Hacqueville has sent you such a large packet that it 
would be ridiculous to pretend to tell you any news now. 



LETTER XLI. 

Paris, Friday, June 28, 1675. 

Madame de Vins expressed herself very affectionately about 
you yesterday, my dear ; that is, in her way, but it is not a bad 
one ; there seemed no interlineations in what she said. 

We have no news. The king's good star has brought the 
Duke of Lorraine and the Prince of Orange across the Meuse 
again. M. de Turenne has now elbow-room, so that we are no 
longer confined in any part. I am rejoiced that my letters 
are so pleasing to you ; I can hardly think they are so agree- 
able as you say they are. I know they have no stiffness in 
them. Our good cardinal is gone to solitude ; his departure 
gave me sorrow, and reminded me of yours. I have long re- 
marked our cruel separations to the four corners of the world. 
It is very cold ; we are obliged to have a fire, and so are you, 
which is more astonishing still. You judge well respecting 
Quantova ;* if she can not return to her old ways, she will push 
her authority and grandeur beyond the clouds ; but she must 
prepare to be loved the whole year without scruple : in the 
mean time her house is crowded by the whole court, visits are 

* Quantova is Mme. de Montespan. 



120 LETTERS TO 

paid alternately, and her consequence is unbounded. Be not 
uneasy respecting my journey to Brittany ; you are too good 
and too attentive to my health. I will have nothing to do with 
La Mousse ; the dullness of others weighs me down more than 
my own. I have no time to go to Livri. I have made a vow 
to expedite your affairs. I shall give your compliments to 
Madame de Villars and Madame de la Fayette. The latter 
has still a little fever upon her. Adieu, my dearest child, be- 
lieve me to be most sincerely yours. 



LETTER XLH. 



Paris, Friday, July 5, 1675. 
I sit down, my dear, to talk to you a little of our good car- 
dinal. I send you a letter he has written to you. Pray ad- 
vise him to write his history, it is what all his friends press 
him much to do. He tells me he is very well pleased with 
his desert, that he can look upon it without the least horror, 
and humbly hopes that God will support him in his weakness. 
He expresses the most sincere regard for you, and desires me 
not to think of leaving Paris till I have finished all your affairs. 
He remembers the time when you had the ague, and that he 
desired me, for his sake, to be careful of your health. I answei 
him in the same tone. He assures me that the most frightful 
solitude would not make him forget the friendship he owes us. 
He was received at St. Michael's* with transports of joy ; the 
people were all on their knees, and received him as a protector 
sent by God. The troops, who were quartered there, are taken 
off, the officers having waited on him for his orders to send 
away or to leave as many as pleased. Cardinal Bonzi has as- 
sured me that the pope, without staying to receive our cardi- 
nal's letter, had sent him a brief, to tell him that he supposes, 
and even desires, he will keep his hat ; that the preserving his 

* The place of the cardinal's retreat, a remote village in the province 
of Brittany. 






MADAME DE QRIGNAN. 121 

rank and dignity will in no wise impede the work of his sal- 
vation ; and it is moreover added, that his holiness expressly 
commanded him not to make choice of any other place of re- 
tirement than St. Denis ; but I much doubt this latter part of 
the report, so I only tell you my author for the former part. 

I am convinced he thinks no more about the cassolette. If 
I had desired him not to send it, it would only have served to 
put him in mind of it, so I thought it was best to take no 
notice of it. There is no news of importance stirring. Every 
thing goes on with spirit on M. de Turenne's side. 

The other day there was a Madame Noblet, of the Vitri 
family, playing at basset with monsieur. Mention was made 
of M. de Vitri, who is very ill, upon which she said to mon- 
sieur, " Ah ! sir, I saw him this morning, poor man ! his face 
looked just like a stratagem" What could she mean ? Mad- 
ame de Richelieu has received such kind and affectionate let- 
ters from the king, that she is more than repaid for what she 
has done.* Adieu, my dearest and best-beloved. 



LETTER XLm. 



Paris, Friday, July 19, 1675. 
Guess from whence I write to you, my dear — from M. de 
Pomponne's, as you will perceive by the few lines which 
Madame de Vins sends you with this. I have been with her, 
the Abbe Arnauld, and D'Hacqueville, to see the procession 
of St. Genevieve pass ; we returned in very good time ; we 
were back by two o'clock ; there are many that will not re- 
turn till night. Do you know that this procession is consid- 
ered a very fine sight. It is attended by all the religious 
orders, in their respective habits, the curates of the several 
parishes, and all the canons of Notre-Dame, preceded by the 
archbishop of Paris in his pontificals, and on foot, giving his 

* The singular attachment of the queen and Madame de Montespan. 

6 



122 LETTERS TO 

benediction to the right and left as he goes, till he comes to 
the cathedral ; I should have said to the left only, for the 
Abbe de St. Genevieve marches on the right, barefoot, and pre- 
ceded by a hundred and fifty monks, barefoot also ; the cross 
and miter are borne before him, like the archbishop, and he 
gives his benedictions in the same manner, but with great ap- 
parent devotion, humility, and fasting, and an air of penitence, 
which show that he is to say mass at Notre-Dame. The par* 
liament, in their red robes, and the principal companies follow 
the shrine of the saint, which glitters with precious stones, and 
is carried by twenty men clad in white, and barefoot. The 
provost of the merchants, and four counselors, are left as hos- 
tages at the Church of St. Genevieve, for the return of this 
precious treasure. You will ask me, perhaps, why the shrine 
was exposed. It was to put a stop to the continual rains we 
have had, and to obtain warm and dry weather, which hap- 
pened at the very time they were making preparations for the 
procession, to which, as it was intended to obtain for us all 
kinds of blessings, I presume we owe his majesty's return, who 
is expected here on Sunday next. In my letter of Wednesday 
I will write you all that is worth writing. 

M. de La Trousse is conducting a detachment of six thou- 
sand men to Marshal de Ore qui, who is to join M. de Turenne. 
La Fare and the others remain with the dauphin's gens-d'armes, 
in the army commanded by the prince. The other day mad- 
ame and Madame de Monaco took D'Hacqueville, at the Hotel 
de Grammont, to walk about the streets and the Tuileries in- 
cog. ; as her highness is not much given to a disposition for 
gallantry, her dignity sits very easy on her. The Tuscan 
princess is expected every hour. This is another of the bless- 
ings obtained by the shrine of St. Genevieve. I saw one of 
your letters yesterday to the Abbe de Pontcarre ; it is the best 
letter that ever was written ; there is no part of it which has 
not some point and wit. He has sent a copy of it to his emi- 
nence, for the original is kept as sacred as the shrine. 

Adieu, my dearest and best-beloved ; you are so remarkable 



• MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 123 

for your inviolable love of truth, that I do not abate myself a 
single expression of your kindness toward me, and you may 
judge, then, how happy it makes me. 



LETTER LXIV. 



Paris, Wednesday, July 24, 1675. 

The weather is so extremely hot, my dear, that instead of 
tossing and tumbling in my bed the whim took me to get up 
(though it is but five o'clock in the morning) and chat a little 
with you. 

The king arrived at Versailles on Sunday morning ; the 
queen, Madame de Montespan, and all the other ladies, went 
to take possession of their former apartments. In a short time 
after his arrival, his majesty began to make the usual visits : 
the only difference is that they play in the state-apartments. 
I shall have more intelligence before I conclude my letter. 
The reason of my being so ill-informed of what passed at Ver- 
sailles is, that I came but last night from M. de Pomponne's ; 
Madame de Pomponne had invited D'Hacqueville and me in 
so pressing a manner that there was no refusing. Indeed, M. 
de Pomponne appeared delighted to see us ; you were spoken 
of with all the friendship and esteem imaginable, during the 
short time we were there, and there was no want of conversa- 
tion. One of our whims was to wish we could see through a 
great many things which we think we understand, but which, 
in fact, we do not ; we should then see into what passes in 
families, where we should find hatred, mistrust, anger, and con- 
tempt, in the room of all those fine things that are set to out- 
ward show, and pass upon the world for realities. I was 
wishing for a closet hung with mirrors of this kind instead of 
pictures. We carried this odd notion very far, and diverted 
ourselves extremely with it. We were for opening D'Hacque- 
ville's head to furnish ourselves from thence with some of these 
curious anecdotes, and pleased ourselves with thinking how 



124 LETTERS TO 

the world is in general imposed upon by what they see and 
take for truth. You think that things are so and so in such a 
house ; that such a couple adore each other ; but stay a while 
and turn up the cards, and you will see that they hate each 
other most completely. You would imagine that such an event 
proceeded from such a cause — the little demon that drew aside 
the curtain would undeceive you ; and so through life. This 
affor led us infinite amusement. You see, my dear, I must 
have plenty of time to entertain you with such trifles. This is 
the consequence of rising so early in the morning ; this is 
doing as M. de Marseilles does. If it had been winter I should 
have visited by torch-light. 

You have your cool north-east wind at last. Ah ! my child, 
how uncomfortable it is ; we are broiling with heat in this 
country, and in Provence you are starving with cold. I am 
convinced that our shrine has effected this change ; for, before 
the procession, we discovered, like you, that the sun and the 
seasons had changed their course. I thought I had discovered, 
too, like you, that this was the true reason that had occasioned 
the days we so much regret to fly so rapidly. For my part, 
my dear child, I experience as much sorrow to see these days 
passed and gone forever, as I formerly experienced joy in 
spending winter and summer, and every season, with you ; this 
painful thought must give way to the hope of seeing you 
again. 

I wait for cooler weather before I take physic, and for 
cooler councils in Brittany* before I venture thither. Madame 
de Lavardiu, De la Troche, M. d'Haroiiis, and I, shall consult 
together about a proper time for our journey, having no de- 
sign to run ourselves into the midst of the commotions that at 
present rend our poor province. They seem to increase daily, 
and those concerned in them have got as far as Fougeres, 

* The exorbitant taxes that had been imposed upon these unhappy 
people had obliged numbers of them to have recourse to arms, in order 
to free themselves from the load of exactions that it was impossible for 
them to bear. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAFT. 125 

burning and ransacking all the way as they go along. This 
is rather too near the Mocks, They have begun a second time 
to plunder the bureau* at Rennes : Madame de Chaulnes is 
terrified almost to death at the continual menaces she hears. 
I was tr.ld yesterday that some of the mutineers had actually 
stopped ler in her coach, and that even the most moderate of 
them had sent notice to M. de Chaulnes, who is at Fort Louis, 
that if the troops he had sent for took a single step toward 
entering the province, his wife would run the hazard of being 
torn to pieces by the insurgents. It is necessary, however, 
that some troops should march against them, for things are 
come to such a height that lenitives are no longer of service. 
But it would not be prudent for us to set out before the storm 
is a little subsided, and we see the issue of this extreme con- 
fusion. It is hoped that the approaching harvest will help to 
disperse the rioters, for after all they must get in their grain ; 
and there are nearly six or seven thousand of them, not one of 
whom can speak a word of French. 

M. de Boucherat told me the other day, that a curate hav- 
ing received a clock that had been sent him from France, as 
they call this part of the country, in the sight of some of his 
parishioners, they immediately cried out in their language, 
that it was # new tax, they were sure of it, they saw it plainly. 
The good curate, with great presence of mind, and with- 
out seeming at all confused, said to them, " My children, you 
are mistaken, you know not what you are talking of; it is an 
indulgence" This brought them all immediately upon their 
kr.?es. You may, by this specimen, form a judgment of the 
understandings of these people. Let the consequence be what 
it may, I must wait till the hurricane is past ; but I am sorry 
to be obliged to defer my journey. It was fixed at the most 
convenient time for me, and it can not be put off without inter- 
fering with my plans. You know my resignation to Provi- 
dence ; we must all return to this at last, and take things as 

* A kind of exchequer established in all the principal towns in 
France for the collection of the king's revenues. 



126 LETTERS TO 

they come. I talk wisely, as you see, but I do not always 
think wisely. You well know there is one point in which I 
can not practice what I preach. 



LETTER XLV. 

Paris, Friday, August 16, 16? 5. 
I could wish all you write to me of M. de Turenne inserted 
in a funeral oration. There is an uncommon beauty and en- 
ergy in your style ; it has all the force of eloquence that can 
be inspired by grief. Think not, my child, that the remem- 
brance of him can be lost in this country. The torrent that 
sweeps every thing away can not remove" a memory so well 
established ; it is consecrated to immortality. I was the other 
day at M. de la Rochefoucault's, with Madame de Lavardin, 
M. de Marsillac, and Madame de la Fayette. The premier 
joined us. The conversation, which lasted two hours, turned 
wholly on the divine qualities of this true hero. The eyes of 
every one were bathed in tears, and you can not imagine how 
deeply the grief of his loss is engraved on all their hearts. You 
have exceeded us in nothing, but in the satisfaction of sighing 
aloud, and of writing his panegyric. We remarked one thing, 
which was, that it is not at his death only, that the largeness 
of his heart, the extent of his knowledge, the elevation of his 
mind are admired ; all this the world acknowledged during 
his life. How much this admiration is increased by his death 
you may easily suppose. In a word, my dear, do not think 
that the death of this great man is regarded here like that of 
others. You may talk of it as much as you please ; but 
do not suppose your grief can exceed ours. That none of 
the devotees have yet taken it into their heads to doubt 
whether his soul was in a good state, proceeds from the perfect 
esteem every person felt for him. It is not possible that sin or 
guilt could find a place in. his hearfr; his conversion,* so sin- 

* He was originally a Protestant. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 127 

cere, appeared to us like a baptism. Every one speaks of the 
innocence of his manners, the purity of his intentions, his un- 
affected humility, the solid glory that filled his heart, with- 
out haughtiness or ostentation, his love of virtue for its own 
sake, without regarding the approbation of men, and, to crown 
all, his generous and Christian charity. Did not I tell you of 
the regiment he clothed ? It cost him fourteen thousand 
francs, and left him almost penniless. The English told M. 
de Lorges, that they would continue to serve this campaign to 
avenge his death ; but that they would afterward retire, not 
being able to serve under any other general after M. de 
Turenne. When some of the new troops grew a little im- 
patient in the morasses, where they were up to their knees in 
water, the old soldiers animated them thus : " What ! do you 
complain ? It is plain you do not yet know M. de Turenne ; 
he is more grieved than we are when we are in any difficulty. 
He thinks of nothing at this moment but of removing us 
hence ; he wakes, while we sleep ; he is a father to us ; it is 
easy to see that you are but young soldiers." It was thus 
they encouraged them. All I tell you is true ; I do not load 
you with idle stories to amuse you because you are at a dis- 
tance ; this would be cheating you, and you may rely upon 
what I write to you as firmly, as on what I should tell you if 
you were here. I return to the state of his soul. It is really 
remarkable that no zealot has yet thought fit to doubt 
whether it has pleased God to receive it with open arms, as 
one of the best and noblest he ever created. Reflect a little 
upon this general assurance of his salvation, and you will find 
it is a sort of miracle, scarcely known but in his case. 

The king has said of a certain person, whose absence last 
winter delighted you, that he had neither head nor heart ; 
these were his very words. M. de Rohan, with a handful of 
men, has dispersed and put to flight the mutineers, who were 
formed in troops in his Duchy of Rohan. Our troops are at 
Nantes, commanded by Fourbin ; for Vins is still a subaltern. 
Fourbin's orders are to obey M. de Chaulnes ; but as M. de 



128 LETTERS TO 

Chaulnes is at Fort Louis, Fourbin in effect lias the command. 
You understand what these imaginary honors are, which remain 
without action in those who have the name of commanders. 
M. de Lavardin wished much to have this command ; he has 
been at the head of an old regiment, and pretends it was an 
honor due to him ; but his claim was not admitted. It is 
said that our mutineers have sued for pardon ; I suppose they 
will obtain it, after a sufficient number have been hanged. 
M. de Chamillart, who was odious to the province, is removed ; 
and M. de Marsillac, who is a worthy man, is made intendant. 
These disorders no longer prevent me from taking my jour- 
ney; but there is something here I am unwilling to leave. I 
have not yet been able to go to Livri, however my inclination 
may tempt me. Time must be taken as it comes ; we wish 
to be in the center of news in these critical times. 

Let me add a word more concerning M. de Turenne. He 
had made an acquaintance with a shepherd, who knew the 
roads and the country well ; ha used to take him along with 
him, and order his troops to be posted according to his direc- 
tion. He had a great affection for this shepherd, and esteemed 
him as a man of good plain sense. He said that Colonel Bee 
owed his rise to a similar quality ; and that he believed this 
shepherd would make his fortune as he had done. He was 
pleased with having contrived to make his troops pass without 
danger ; and said to M. de Roye, " In good earnest this seems 
to me no ill performance, and I believe M. de MontecucuH 
w 7 ill not find it so." It is indeed esteemed a masterpiece of 
military skill. Madame de Villars has seen another account 
since the day of battle, in which it is said that the Chevalier 
de Grignan performed wonders, both in respect of valor and 
prudence. God preserve him ! for the courage of M. de Tu- 
renne seems gone over to the enemy ; and they think nothing 
impossible, since the defeat of Marshal de Crequi. 

M. de la Feuillade went post to Versailles the other day, 
where he surprised the king, and said to him, " Sire, some 
(meaning Rochefort) send for their wives, and some come to 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 129 

see them : I am come only to see your majesty, and to thank 
you a thousand and a thousand times. I shall see nobody be- 
sides your majesty, for it is to you I owe every thing." He 
talked a long while with the king, and then taking his leave, 
said, " Sire, I am going ; I beg you to make my compliments 
to the queen and the dauphin, and to my wife and children.'' 
And he mounted his horse ; and in reality saw no other per- 
son. This little sally pleased the king much ; he told the 
oourt, laughing, how he had been made the bearer of M. de 
Feuillade's compliments. It is a great thing to be happy ; 
every thing then succeeds ; nothing is taken amiss. 



LETTER XLVL 



Paris, Friday Evening, Aug. 16, 1675. 
At length, my dear, M. de la Trousse is found. I admire 
his good fortune in this affair : after having performed won- 
ders at the head of his battalion, he was surrounded by two 
squadrons of the enemy's horse, so completely, that no one 
knew how it would end ; when on a sudden he finds himself 

prisoner to Whom ? The Marquis de Grana, with whom 

he was intimate for six months at Cologne, and with whom he 
had cultivated a close friendship. You may judge how he 
will be treated ; he has a pretty little wound ? which will fur- 
nish him with an excellent plea for passing the vintage at La 
Trousse ; for there is no reason to doubt that he will be re- 
leased on his parole ; and, what is still better, will meet with 
the most favorable reception at court. Nothing can exceed 
the congratulations and compliments that have been made 
him by all his friends on this occasion. I really pity him for 
having so many thanks to return: if he were to have carved 
his own fortune, could he have done it more completely to his 
wish ? As for honest Sanzei, we have no news of him, which 
does not look well. Marshal de Crequi is at Treves, at least 
it is so reported, and that his people saw him cross the river, 

6* 



|3* 



LETTERS TO 



with three others, in a miserable little boat. His wife is dis« 
tracted with grief, not having heard a syllable from himself: 
for my part I really think he has been drowned, or else killed 
by the peasants on his way to Treves. In short, matters ap- 
pear to go badly on all sides, La Trousse excepted. 



LETTER XLVII. 

Paris, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1675. 
If I had the means of sending letters to you every day I 
could easily contrive to write them. I sometimes do so even 
now, though my letters do not go; but the pleasure of writ- 
ing is reserved for you alone : to every one else I write, be- 
cause I must. I have particulars to relate respecting M. de 
Turenne. Madame d'Elbeuf,* who is for a few days at the 
Cardinal be Bouillon's, invited me to dine with them yester- 
day, and to share in their grief. Madame de la Fayette was 
likewise there ; the purpose of our meeting was fully an- 
swered, for there was not a dry eye among us. Madame d'Elbeuf 
had a picture of the hero, admirably executed. All his people 
arrived at eleven o'clock ; the poor creatures were already in 
deep mourning, and bathed in tears ; three gentlemen came in 
who were ready to die at the sight of the picture ; their cries 
pierced every heart ; they could not utter a word ; his footmen, 
his pages, his trumpeters, were all in tears, and made every 
body else weep to see them. The first who was able to speak, 
answered our mournful questions, and we prevailed on him to 
relate the" manner of his death. It seems he was desirous of 
confessing, and when he retired for that purpose, he gave his 
orders for the evening, and was to have communicated the 
next day, which was Sunday, when he expected to give battle. 
He mounted on horseback at two o'clock the Saturday, after 
having taken a little refreshment, and as he had many people 
with him, he left them all at about thirty paces from the hill, 

* Sister to Cardinal de Bouillon. 



MADAME DE.GRI6NAN. 131 

and said to young d'Elbeuf, " Nephew, stay you there : you 
move round me so much, that I shall be known." M. Hamil- 
ton, who happened to be near the place where he was going, 
said to him, " Sir, come this way if you please, the enemy's 
fire is directed to the place in which you are." " You are 
right, sir," replied M. de Turenne ; " I would not willingly be 
killed to-day ; this will do extremely well." He had scarcely 
turned his horse, when he saw St. Hilaire, who, coming up to 
him with his hat in his hand, desired him to cast his eye on a 
battery he had just raised, pointing to the place. M. de Tu- 
renne turned back, and at that very instant, without having 
time to stop his horse, he had his arm and part of his body 
torn to pieces by the same ball that carried off St. Hilaire's arm 
and hand in which he held his hat. The gentleman, who was 
watching him attentively, did not see him fall, for his horse 
ran away with him as far as the spot where he had left young 
d'Elbeuf ; he was leaning with his face over the pommel of 
the saddle. The moment his horse stopped, this great man 
fell off into the arms of his people, who were gathered round 
him, twice opened wide his eyes, moved his lips a little, and 
sank to eternal rest. Think of his death, and of part of his 
heart being carried away ! His people immediately burst into 
loud cries of lamentations, but M. Hamilton quieted them as 
well as he could, and had young d'Elbeuf removed, who had 
thrown himself upon his uncle's body frantic with grief, and 
would not be dragged from it without violence. A cloak was 
immediately thrown over the body, and it was placed by the 
side of a hedge, where they kept watch over it in silence till a 
carriage could be sent for to carry it to his tent; there it was 
met by M. de Lorges, M. de Roye, and several others, who 
were ready to expire with grief; but they were obliged to re- 
strain themselves, and think of the important business that 
had devolved on them. A military service was performed in 
the camp, where tears and sorrow were the mourning ; the 
officers, however, had each a crape scarf, the drums were cov- 
ered with the same, they beat only a single stroke, the sol- 



132 LETTERS TO 

diers marched with their pikes trailing and pieces reversed ; 
but the cries and lamentations of a whole army can not be 
described without emotion. His two nephews assisted at this 
mournful ceremony, I leave you to judge in what condition. 
M. de Roye, though much wounded, would be carried thither. 
I suppose the poor Chevalier de Grignan was overwhelmed 
with grief. When the body was removed from the camp, to 
be brought to Paris, the same scene of grief was renewed, 
and in every place through which it passed, nothing was heard 
but lamentations : at Langres, however, they exceeded even 
this ; the bier was met by more than two hundred of the 
principal inhabitants in mourning, followed by the common 
people, and all the clergy in sacerdotal habits. In the town a 
solemn service was performed, and they all voluntarily en- 
tered into a contribution toward defraying the expenses, which 
amounted to five thousand francs ; for they conducted the 
body as far as the next town. "What say you to these natural 
marks of affection, founded on the most extraordinary merit ? 
He is to be brought to St. Denis this evening ; the people are 
all gone to meet the body at a place about two leagues dis- 
tant, from whence they will conduct it to a chapel, where it is 
to be deposited for the present ; there will be a service per- 
formed at St. Denis, till that at Notre Dame is celebrated, 
which will be a solemn one. Such was our entertainment at 
the cardinal's ; we dined, as you may suppose, melancholy 
enough, and afterward did nothing but sigh till four o'clock. 
Cardinal de Bouillon mentioned you, and took upon him to 
answer for you, that, had you been in Paris you would have 
made one in our sad party ; I assured him that you took no small 
share in his grief. He intends to answer both your letter and 
M. de Grignan's ; he desired me to say a thousand kind things 
to you, .and so did the worthy d'Elbeuf, who, as well as her 
son, has lost every thing. It was a good idea to undertake 
thus to tell you what you know already as well as myself; but 
these originals struck me, and I was glad to show you in what 
way we forget M. de Turenne in this part of the world. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 133 

M. de la Garde told me the other day, that in the enthusi- 
asm of the wonders which were related of the Chevalier de 
Grignan, he had advised his brothers* to bestir themselves on 
the occasion, to support his interest at least for the present 
year ; and that he found them both very well disposed to do 
extraordinary things. This good La Garde is at Fontainebleau, 
from whence he is to return in three days, to set out at last ; 
for he longs to be gone, though courtiers in general seem to 
be very leaden-heeled. The situation of poor Madame de 
Sanzei is really deplorable ; we know nothing yet respecting 
her husband ; he is neither dead nor alive, wounded nor pris- 
oner. His people do not take the least notice of him in their 
letters. M. de la Trousse, after having mentioned the report 
of his being killed (this was the day of the action), has never 
since mentioned a syllable about him, either to Madame de 
Sanzei or to Coulanges,f so that we are quite at a loss what to 
say to this distracted woman ; and yet it is cruel to let her re- 
main in this state of uncertainty ; for my part, I am persuaded 
her husband is killed ; the dust and blood must probably dis- 
figure him so much as not to be known again, and he has 
been stripped with the rest of the slain. Or he was perhaps 
killed at a distance from any of the rest ; or by the country- 
people on the road, and thrown into a hedge. I think it is 
more probable that he has met with some such melancholy 
fate, than that he has been taken prisoner without a word hav- 
ing been heard respecting him. 

And now, my dear, I must tell you that the abbe thinks 
my journey so necessary, that I no longer oppose it ; I shall 
not have him always with me, and therefore I ought to take 
advantage of his good intentions toward me. It will be only 
a trip of two months, for the good abbe is not the least dis- 
posed to pass the winter there. He expresses himself very 
sincerely on the subject, and you know I am always the dupe 

* The Coadjutor of Aries, and the Abbede Grignan. 
f Madame de Sevigne was sister to M. de Coulanges, and M. de la 
Trousse was first cousiu to both. 



134 LETTERS TO 

of every thing that has the appearance of sincerity ; so much 
the worse for those who deceive me. I conceive that it would 
be very dull there in the winter ; long evenings may be com- 
pared to long marches for tediousness. I was not dull the 
winter you were with me ; you, who are young, might have 
felt so, but do you remember our readings ? It is true, that 
if every thing had been taken away that surrounded the table, 
and even the book too, it is impossible to tell what would have 
become of me. Providence will arrange every thing. I trea- 
sure up all your sayings ; we get out of our dullness as we do 
out of bad roads ; we see no one stop short in the middle of a 
month, because he has not the courage to go through it ; it is 
like dying, we see no one who does not know how to keep out 
of this dilemma ; there are parts in your letters which I nei- 
ther can nor will forget. Are my friends Corbinelli and M. de 
Vardes with you ? I hope they are. In that case, I dare say, 
there has been no deficiency of conversation among you ; you 
have talked incessantly of the state of affairs, of the death of 
M. de Turenne, and are at a loss to guess what will be the 
consequences of it ; in fact, you are just like ourselves, though 
you are in Provence. M. de Barillon supped here last night. 
The conversation turned upon M. de Turenne, and the univer- 
sal grief occasioned by his loss ; he entered largely into his 
virtues, his love of truth, his love of virtue for its own sake, 
and his reward in the practice of it ; he finished this eulogium 
with adding, that no one could love and esteem M. de Turenne 
without being the better for it. His company and conversa- 
tion inspired such hatred of deceit and double-dealing, as raised 
his friends above the generality of mankind. In this number 
the chevalier was particularly distinguished as one for whom 
this great man showed more than common esteem and affec- 
tion, and who, on his side, was one of his greatest admirers. 
We shall never see his equal in any age : I do not think we 
are quite blind in the present day, at least those I meet are 
not so, and this perhaps is boasting that I keep good company. 
But I must tell you one word more of M. de Turenne, which I 
hef>rd yesterday. You know Pertuis well, and his adoration 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 135 

and attachment to M. de Turenne ; as soon as lie heard of his 
death, he wrote his majesty the following note : " Sire, I have 
lost M. de Turenne ; I feel my heart unable to support this 
blow ; and being incapable of serving your majesty as I ought 
to do, I humbly request your permission to resign my govern- 
ment of Courtrai." Cardinal de Bouillon prevented the letter 
from being given to the king ; but, fearing he might come in 
person, he informed his majesty of the effect Pertuis' grief 
had on him. The king appeared to enter with great goodness 
and indulgence into his sentiments, and told Cardinal de 
Bouillon that he esteemed Pertuis the more for this mark of 
attachment to his friend and benefactor,* and that he thought 
him too honest a man not to discharge his duty in whatever 
situation he was in. This is a specimen of grief for this hero. 
He had a patrimony of 40,000 livres a year ; and M. Bouche- 
rat says, that after all his debts, and the several legacies he 
has bequeathed, are paid, there will not remain more than 
10,000. These are the vast treasures he had amassed during 
a service of fifty years ! Adieu, my dearest child, I embrace 
you a thousand times, and with inexpressible tenderness. 



LETTER XLVIII. 

Tuesday, September IT, 1675. 
Here is an odd date for you : >^^0irC-5Tl> 

Je suis dans un bateau, f/^y^ OF TFfR 



K 



Dans le courant de l'eau,/ TVPT? ^ITTV 

Fort loin de mon chateau\J W * 



I think I might add, >^N Z'TPCi 

Ah quelle folielj 



for the water is so very low, and we are so often aground, that 

* He had been captain of the guard to M. de Turenne. 
f I am here in a boat, 

On the water afloat, 

Erom my castle far remote. 

X Ah, what folly is this ! 



136 LETTERS TO 

I heartily wish for my carriage again, but that is out of reach 
for some time. The water becomes dull when one is alone. A 
Count des Chapelles and a Mademoiselle de Sevigne are want- 
ing to enliven the scene. In short, it is mere folly to take a 
boat at Orleans, or even at Paris ; but it is the fashion, as it is 
at Chartres to buy chaplets. I told you I saw the Abbe 
d'Effiat at his noble mansion. I wrote to you from Tours ; 
from thence we went to Saumur, where we saw Vineuil, and 
wept again over M. de Turenne. He seems greatly affected 
with his loss ; you will pity him when I tell you he is in a 
place where no one ever saw this hero. Vineuil is grown very- 
old, very phthisicky, very driveling, and very devout ; but he 
is still witty. He sends you a thousand and a thousand 
compliments. It is thirty leagues from Saumur to Nantes ; 
we determined to go there in two days, and to get into Nantes 
this day. With this view we were upon the water some 
part of the night, but fortunately we ran aground about two 
hundred yards from the place where we were to go ashore to 
sleep, and could not get out of the boat, so we put back and 
landed at another place, and, following the barking of a dog, 
we got, about midnight, to a little hut, but the most wretched 
place you can possibly conceive; there we found two or three 
old women spinning, and some fresh straw, upon which we all 
lay down without taking off our clothes. I should have 
laughed heartily at this scene, had it not been for thinking 
of our poor abbe, whom I was vexed to have exposed to such 
a fatiguing journey. At daybreak we re-embarked, but were 
again so completely stranded, that it was above an hour before 
we could get afloat again ; however, we were resolved to get 
to Nantes, though against both wind and tide. We were 
forced to row all the way. When we got there, I received 
your letters, and as I find the post must pass through Ingrande, 
I shall leave this little note by the way. I am very well, and 
only want somebody to chat with. I shall write to you from 
Nantes, as you may suppose. I am very impatient to hear 
from you, and about M. de Luxembourg and his army, for my 



MADAME DK GRIGNAN. 137 

head has been in a sack these nine days. The History of the 
Crusades is very amusing, particularly to those who have read 
Tasso, and who see their old friends again in prose and in his- 
tory, but with respect to the author's style, I am his very 
humble servant. The Life of Origen is divine.* 



LETTER XLIX. 



1 The Eocks, Sunday, Oct. 20, 16*75. 

I can not sufficiently admire the diligence and fidelity of the 
post. I received on the 18th your letter of the 9th, that is, 
in nine days only after date, which is all that can be desired. 
But, my dear, we must soon put an end to our admirations ; 
for, as you say, you are going still further ofi^ that we may 
both be exactly in the spot which Providence has assigned us. 
For my part, God knows, I acquit myself very ill in my resi 
dence ; but you, heavens ! M. d' Angers (H. Arnauld) can not 
do more. When I think, however, of our separation, and how 
much I deserve to enjoy the pleasure of being with you, and 
of all your affection for me, and then reflect that we are placed 
at two different ends of the # globe, you must excuse me if I 
can not view this part of our history with gayety of heart. 
Common sense opposes it, and my infinite love still more. I 
have nothing to do but take refuge in submission to the will 
of Providence. I am very glad you have seen M. de la Garde ; 
he does me great honor in approving my turn of mind : he is 
a very good judge. I am sorry you are going to lose him so 
soon, for he is really a worthy man. Your conversations must 
have been endless. So he is to take the archbishop away to 
La Garde. It was very well said of him, that he was like a 
river which fertilized and made every country flourish through 
which it passed. I find he did wonders at Grignan. 

M. de Chaulnes is at Rennes with four thousand men ; he 

* This is the work of Dufosse, of Port Royal. It had just been pub- 
lished, with the Life of Tertullian, by the same author. 



138 LETTERS TO 

has removed the parliament to Vannes, which has occasioned 
a terrible desolation. The ruin of Rennes brings with it that 
of the whole province. Madame de Marbeuf is at Vitre ; she 
has brought me a thousand compliments from Madame de 
Chaulnes, and from M. de Vins, who intends paying me a visit. 
I am not under the least apprehension about these troops on 
my own account, but I can not help feeling for the despair and 
desolation our poor province suffers at present. It is supposed 
we shall not have any assembly of the states here, or if we 
have, it will be only to buy off the taxes which we gave two 
million five hundred thousand livres to have taken off only two 
years ago, and which have been all laid upon our shoulders 
again ; and, perhaps, they may set a price too upon bringing 
the parliament back to Rennes. M. de Montmoron* is fled 
out of the town, to a seat belonging to one of his friends, at 
about three leagues distance from hence, that he may avoid 
hearing the cries and lamentations of the people at seeing their 
dear parliament removed. You see I am quite a Breton, but, 
you know, it is owing to the air I breathe, and to something 
else, for every creature, without distinction, is in affliction 
throughout the province. Be under no concern about my 
health, my dearest child ; I am extremely well. Madame de 
Tarente has given me an essence that has cured her of vapors 
that were worse than mine : two drops are to be taken for fif- 
teen days following, in any beverage that is drunk at table, 
and it cures effectually. She has told me circumstances of its 
efficacy, which have all the air of those in the comedy of the 
Medecin Force ; but I believe them all, and I would take some 
of the essence now if it were not that I think it a pity to make 
use of so admirable a remedy when I have no real occasion for 
it. I will send you, some time or other, the remainder of the 
prosperities of the boat. You will make La Plessis too vain, 
for I shall tell her how much you love her. Except what I 
told you the other day, I do not think a better creature 
exists. She is here every day. I have some of your excellent 

* He was a Sevigne, and dean of the parliament of Brittany. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 139 

Hungary water in my pocket ; I am quite in love with it ; it 
cures all my sorrows ; I wish I could send some of it to Rennes. 

My woods continue very beautiful still, and the verdure is a 
hundred times finer than at Livri ; I do not know whether 
this proceeds from the nature of the trees themselves, or from 
the refreshing rains we have here ; but there is certainly no 
comparison ; every thing here looks as green now as in the 
month of May. The leaves that fall are brown, it is true, but 
those that remain on the trees are not at all faded ; you never 
observed this beauty in them. As to that blessed tree that 
saved your life, I am often tempted to build a little chapel 
there. It seems to carry its head above all the rest, and ex- 
ceeds them in bulk as well as stature, and with very good 
reason, for it saved you. I may, at least, repeat to it the 
stanza of Medor, in Ariosto, in which he wishes happiness and 
peace to the cave that had given him so much pleasure. Our 
sentences are not at all disfigured ; I visit them frequently, 
I think they are rather increased, and two trees that are close 
to each other, often present us with two contrary sentiments, 
"La lontananza ogni grand piaga salda" * and " Piaga 
d'amor non si sana mais"\ There are five or six thus contra- 
dictory. The good princess was charmed with them, as I am 
with the letter you have written our good abbe, on Jacob's 
journey to the land of promise, in your closet. 

Madame de Lavardin has informed me of what is still to be 
kept secret for a few days longer, that D'Olonne is going to 
marry his brother to Mademoiselle de Noirmoutier. He gives 
him all his lands in Poitou, besides a great quantity of jewels 
and furniture. They are at La Ferte-Milon, where this curious 
affair is to be made up. I never thought D'Olonne would 
have given himself any -concern about his name or family. 

* Time is a cure for wounds however deep. 
f The wounds of love are never to be healed. 



\140, LETTERS TO 



LETTER L. 

The Rocks, "Wednesday, November 6, 16*15. 

What a delightful letter have you written to me, my dear 
child ! What thanks do I not owe you for employing your 
hand, your eyes, your head, your time, in composing so agree- 
able a volume ! I have read it over and over, and shall read 
it again with pleasure and attention. I can read nothing that 
is more interesting ; you satisfy my curiosity in every thing I 
wish. I admire your care in giving me such punctual an- 
swers. This makes a conversation perfect, regular, and ex- 
tremely entertaining. But I must beg you not to destroy 
yourself; this fear makes me renounce the pleasure of having 
frequently such entertainments. You can not doubt my 
generosity in sparing you the fatigue of immoderate writing. 

I comprehend with pleasure the high esteem that is paid to 
M. de Grignan in Provence, after what I have seen of it. 
This is a pleasure you are scarcely sensible of; you are too 
much accustomed to be loved and honored in a province 
where you command. If you saw the horror, the detestation, 
the hatred, that the people have here for their governor, you 
would feel more than you do the pleasure of being adored 
every where. What affronts ! what injuries ! what menaces ! 
what reproaches ! the very stones fly round him. I do not 
believe M. de Grignan would accept this post upon such con- 
ditions. 

You mention to me the paper you have signed so heroically 
in favor of M. de Grignan.* You say you had no doubt 
which way the honorable sentiments of Cardinal de Retzf in- 
clined. I do not say any thing of mine ; it was enough that 
you could discern what his counsels tended to. In certain 
delicate affairs, we do not presume directly to advise, but we 
represent the case ; the common friends of both do what is 

* It appears that Madame de Grignan had entered into a bond fof 
her husband. f Cardinal de Retz advised her not to sign. 



MADAME DE GBIGNAN. 141 

proper, that there may be n© jarring opposition in the interest 
of those they love. But with a soul so perfectly generous and 
go 3d as yours, we consult only ourselves, and act precisely as 
you have done. Have you not seen how much you have 
been admired ? Are you not pleased that you owe to none 
but yourself so noble a resolution 1 You would have done 
nothing blamable, if you had refused to sign — you would 
only have acted like the rest of the world ; but by consenting 
to it, you have exceeded all the world. In a word, my child, 
enjoy the beauty of your own action, and do not think meanly 
of us for not having prompted you to it. On a similar occa- 
sion, we should perhaps have acted as you have done, and you 
would have advised as we did ; it is all well. I am very 
much pleased that M. de Grignan is so good as to recompense 
this mark of your friendship and affection by a greater atten- 
tion to his affairs. The prudence you commend him for, is 
the truest mark of his gratitude you could have wished. 



LETTER LI. 

The Rocks, Sunday, December 1, 16T5. 
Well, my dear, it seems now settled that I am to receive 
two of your packets together, and miss one post ; you should 
see the faces I make, and how I receive it in comparison with 
those that come regularly. I am of your opinion, my child, 
and would give a great deal to be as easy about answering 
letters as the coadjutor is, and keep them in my pocket for 
a month or two without troubling my head about them. 
Well, it is a gift from heaven certainly, this happy indiffer- 
ence ! Madame de Langeron used to say of visits, and I apply 
it to every thing : " What I do fatigues me, and what I omit 
to do vexes me." I think this is very well said, and I feel it 
sensibly. I am always exact, however, in my answers. It is 
with pleasure I give you the top of the basket ; that is, you 
have the very flower of my mind, my head, my eyes, my pen, 



142 LETTERS TO 

my desk — the rest fare as they can. I have as much amuse- 
ment in chatting to you, as labor and fatigue in writing to 
others. I am perfectly stunned with the great news that 
abounds in Europe. 

I suppose the coadjutor has shown Madame de Fontevraud 
the letter he received from you. You are ignorant of its 
value. You write like an angel ; I read your letters with ad- 
miration. You no sooner set out than you reach the goal. 
Do you remember the minuet which you danced so well, and 
closed in such excellent time, when the other creatures were 
not at the end of theirs till the next day ? The late madame 
and yourself were famous for this ; we used to call it gaining 
ground. Your letters are just the same. 

As for your poor little frater, I know not where he has hid 
himself ; it is three weeks now since I had a line from him. 
He made no mention of the pretty airing upon the Meuse, 
though every body believes it here ; his fortune is really verj 
hard, poor lad. I do not see how he can manage the affair of 
his promotion, unless Lauzun will take the guidonage in part 
of payment, with some other little additions we will endeavor 
to raise ; but to buy the ensign's place, and have the guidon- 
age left upon our hands, will never do. Your reasoning upon 
the matter is very just ; we all acquiesce in it, and shall be 
veiy well contented to mount after the other two,* provided 
the guidon serves as the first step. 

I shall finish the year here very peaceably. There are 
times when all places are indifferent, and a solitude like this 
not unpleasant. Madame de la Fayette returns you all your 
civilities ; she has very bad health, and poor M. de Limoges 
still worse ; he has resigned all his benefices to the king ; I 
fancy his son, the Abbe de la Fayette, will have one of his 
abbeys. Poor Gascony has been as roughly handled as we 
have been. We have six thousand troops sent down to pass 

* The Marquis de la Trousse, and the Marquis de la Fare ; the one 
captain-lieutenant, and the other sub-lieutenant, in the dauphin's gens- 
d'armes. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 143 

the winter among: us : if it were not for the misconduct of 
the provinces, I do not know how they would be able to dis- 
pose of their troops. I can not think peace is so near : do 
you remember all our reasoning upon the subject of war, 
and how many there must be killed ? This is always a certain 
prophecy, and so is that, that your letters can never tire me, 
long as they may be : ah ! you will find no chimera in this 
hope, they are my choicest reading. Ripert brings you a 
third volume of the Moral Essays, which are worth your pe- 
rusal. I never met with greater energy than there is in the 
style of these writers : they make use of no words but what 
are in common use, and yet they appear perfectly new, by the 
elegant manner in which they dispose them. In the morning 
I read the history of France ; in the afternoon, some serious 
subjects in my woods ; such as the Essays, the Life of Saint 
Thomas of Canterbury, which I think delightful, or the Icono- 
clastes ; and in the evening, things of a lighter nature : this is 
my constant rule. I hope you continue to read Josephus ; 
take courage, my dear, and go on boldly to the end. If you 
read the history of the Crusades, you will meet with two 
illustrious men who were your ancestors, but not a word about 
the great family of V***, that holds its head so high at pres- 
ent : but I am persuaded there are some passages which will 
make you throw aside the book, and curse the Jesuit ; * and 
yet upon the whole it is an admirable history. 



LETTER LE. 

The Rocks, "Wednesday, Dec. 11, 1675. 
A little patience, my dear child, brings us to the accomplish- 
ment of our wishes : I have received the two packets of let- 
ters from you that I should have received before ; but they are 

* Father Maimbourg, author of the History of the Crusades. The 
physician, in the Lettres Persanes, gives as a recipe for the asthma, to 
read all the works of this father, stopping only at each period. 



144 LETTERS TO 

come at last, and you will do me no more than justice to be- 
lieve that I am highly delighted to have them. I thank you 
that notwithstanding all your philosophy, you enter into all my 
melancholy reflections on the immense distance that separates 
us ; you sympathize with me ; you seem afflicted as well as 
myself with this disposition of Providence ; but you encoun- 
ter it with more courage than I do, who always feel from it 
some new increase of sorrow. I am continually meditating 
on the past, for which the present and the future can never 
make me amends. It is an ample field in which to exercise a 
heart so tender and ill-defended as mine. I can not but ad- 
mire those good ladies who make a duty of their inclination ; 
there is La Troche for instance, who has so well turned and 
wound her good fortune, that she is at length settled at her 
ease in the good city of Paris, making it the seat of her em- 
pire and the field of all her operations. She has fixed her son 
at court, in spite of wind and tide, and makes it her business to 
be always near him. As for Marbeuf, she had begun, even in 
her husband's time, and now lays no restraint upon herself ; 
she has taken a lease of a house in Paris for a hundred years, 
and most humbly takes her leave of poor Brittany : while you, 
my dear child, who were born and bred in this country, you 
whom I have always so fondly loved, and so ardently wished 
to have forever with me, are driven to the furthest end of the 
world by the storms of adverse fortune; but, if I mean to 
put an end to my letter, I must pass lightly over these reflec- 
tions, and resume my courage in the flattering hope of a 
change : d'Hacqueville and I indulge some pleasing dreams of 
that kind ; but this is not a time to communicate them to you. 
Let us return to the miseries of this poor province. 

Every place is full of warriors ; there are to be some at 
Vitre, notwithstanding the princess is there. Monsieur, when 
he writes to her, styles her his good aunt ; his dear aunt ; but 
I do not find that she is better treated than others. There are 
to be troops at Guerche, the estate of the Marquis de Villeroi ; 
and from thence they are to spread themselves among the 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 145 

country people, to rob and strip them. This is a heavy dis- 
aster upon poor Brittany, that never experienced any thing of 
the kind before. Our governor has received a power to grant 
a general amnesty, which he disperses with one hand, and 
with the other lets loose eight thousand soldiers, over whom 
he has as much command as you have : they have all their 
orders. M. de Pommereuil is expected here every day; "he 
has the inspection of this little army, and may very soon boast 
a fine government. He is the best and wisest of the robe ; 
he is my friend ; but I doubt whether he will be as tractable 
as your intendant, whom you manage so excellently ; I am 
afraid he will be changed. I can give you no information to- 
day respecting Languedoc ; in the mean time content your- 
self with some from Guienne ; I find they are well protected, 
and have procured a considerable mitigation of their burden. 
Alas ! we are not so happy ; our protections, if we had any, 
would do us more harm than good, by the animosity against 
us of two individuals. I believe we may still find, or at least 
promise to find, the three millions demanded of us, without 
ruining our friend ; * for he is so beloved by the states, that 
they would do any thing rather than he should suffer. And 
this,*I think, is enough upon the subject. 

I am rejoiced that you are not returned to Grignan ; it 
would have been only an additional fatigue and expense to 
you. Prudence and economy, for which the good abbe de- 
sires me to thank you, have rendered that step unnecessary. 
Let me know if the dear little ones are to come to you. We 
have most delightful weather here, and we are making some 
new walks, which will be very beautiful. My son is very 
good, and helps to amuse us ; he enters into the spirit of the 
place, and has brought no more of the warrior or of the cour- 
tier with him into this retreat, than is sufficient to enliven 
conversation. When it does not rain we are not so much to 
be pitied as at a distance it may be supposed  the time we 
have fixed to spend here will pass like the rest. 

* M. de Harrouis. 

7 



146 LETTERS TO 

My letter has not been given to Louvois ; the whole affair 
is negotiating between Lauzun and myself ; if he will take the 
guidonage, we have offered to make a small addition to it ; if 
he resolves to sell his post outright, which would be very un- 
reasonable, he must look for a purchaser on his side, as we 
shall on ours ; that is all. I have written to the chevalier to 
condole with him on our not having met at Paris ; we should 
have made curious lamentations together on our last year's 
party, and should have renewed our tears for the loss of M. de 
Turenne. I know not what idea you have of our princess ; I 
assure you she is no Artemisia ;* her heart is like wax, it easily 
takes impression ; she makes a boast of it, and says pleasantly 
enough that she has a ridiculous heart ; this is spoken in gene- 
ral terms, but the world is rather more particular in its appli- 
cations. I am in hopes I shall be able to keep this folly with- 
in bounds, by the frequent speeches I make (as if I intended 
nothing by them) on the detestable light in which those wo- 
men are held, who give too great a rein to their passions, and 
how much they subject themselves thereby to contempt. I 
talk miraculously sometimes ; I am heard and approved as 
much as can be expected. Indeed, I consider it quite a duty 
to talk thus ; and should think it an honor to be instrumental 
in working a reformation. 

I am tired to death with the barrenness of news ; we stand 
in great need of some event, as you say, let it be at whose ex- 
pense it will ; as long as we have no more Turennes to lose, 
vogue la galere. You tell me extraordinary things ; I read 
them, admire them, believe them, and then you send me word 
they are not true ; I well know the style and braggart of the 
provinces. You judge superficially of our governor, when 
you say you should have acted as he did, had you been in his 
place ; I know you would not ; neither did the king's service 
require it. Ah ! what is become of the excellent understand- 

* The affectionate and chaste wife of Mausolus, king of Caria, whoso 
ashes she drank after his death. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 14*7 

ing you had last winter ? This is no time to think of deputa- 
tions ; let us see peace restored, and then we shall have time 
to think of every thing. 

As to the religion of the Jews, I said, when reading their 
history, that " if God had given me grace to have been born a 
Jew,"* I should have liked it better than any other except the 
true religion. I admire its magnificence ; but you must ad- 
mire it still more, on account of its year of rest, and of dress- 
ing-gowns, which would have given you an opportunity of 
being a shining example of piety in your elbow-chair ; never 
would sabbath have been better kept. Hi pert has received 
the Moral Essays ; they contain several treatises, and among 
the rest one that is particularly pleasing ; you will guess which 
I mean. I am delighted with your good health and beauty, 
for I love you truly. I often wish for you in these woods, the 
air of which, as well as that of Livri, is a great preservative to 
the complexion. Our good abbe praises you highly for your 
care in discharging your debts ; for that, in his estimation, is 
the law and the prophets ; and as M. de Grignan is so prudent, 
I will embrace him notwithstanding his beard ; but do you 
know that your little brother's beard has the presumption to 
rival it ? it is to much purpose ! Send me word of your suc- 
cess at play. It seems to me as if I saw your little fingers 
taking out of the pool ; but these times are past ; good and 
evil travel on the same road, but they leave different impres- 
sions. You have given a great dinner ; where was I ? for I 
know all ; I see all the magnificence from hence. You express 
yourself admirably on the marriage of the little prince (De 
Marsan) and the marechale ; the disproportion is doubtless 
great, but suppose he should have escaped it ! Believe me, 
you have no need of my letters, you can write delightfully 
without a theme. But I must reduce myself at last to Solon's 

* In allusion to an expression of M. de Rochefoucault, who said, 
" If God had given me grace to have been born a Turk, I should have 
died a Turk." 



48 LETTERS TO 

rule, "Nothing is to be praised on this side the grave;" which 
is a heavy restriction for me, who dearly love to praise what is 
praise-worthy ; besides, who can stay so long ? For my part, 
I shall always go on in my old way : adieu, my ever-lovely 
and beloved child. 



LETTER LEI. 



The Rocks, Sunday January 12, 16V 6. 

You may fill your letters with whatever you please, and still 
be assured that I read them with great pleasure and equal ap- 
probation ; no one can write better than you do, and it is not 
my friendship only that leads me to form this opinion. 

You delight me by saying you like the Moral Essays ; did I 
not tell you they would suit your taste ? As soon as I began 
to read them, I could think of nothing but of sending them to 
you ; you know I am communicative, and do not like to en- 
joy a pleasure alone. If this book had been written ' on pur- 
pose for you, it could not have been more calculated to please 
you. What language ! what energy in the arrangement of 
the words ! I think I never read French but in this book. 
The resemblance of charity to self-love, and of the heroic 
modesty of M. de Turenne and the prince to Christian 
humility— but I forbear. This work deserves to be praised 
from beginning to end, but I should write a strange letter if I 
were to do so. I am very glad, however, you like it, and I 
' have a better opinion of my own judgment in consequence. 
You do not admire the life of Josephus ; but it is sufficient if 
you approve his actions and his history. Did you not think 
him very happy in the cave, where they drew lots who should 
stab himself the last ? 

We laughed till we cried at the story of the girl who sung 
the indecent song, for which she confessed aloud in the 
church. Nothing can be more novel and amusing. I think 
she was in the right ; the confessor certainly wished to hear 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 140 

the song, for he was not satisfied with the girl's accusation of 
herself. I fancy I see him bursting with laughter the first at 
this adventure. We often send you ridiculous stories, but we 
can not surpass this. I always talk of Brittany, and it is to 
encourage you to talk of Provence ; it is a country in which I 
am more interested than in any other. My journey thither 
takes away all possibility of being tired with what you tell 
me, because I am acquainted with every body, and understand 
every thing perfectly. I have not forgotten the beauty of 
your winters. Our season is very fine here ; I walk every day, 
and have almost made a new park round the waste land at 
the end of the mall. I am planting four rows of trees there ; 
it will be a great improvement, for all this part is now uniform 
and cultivated. 

But I shall take my departure, in spite of all these charms, 
in February. The abbe's affairs are still more urgent than 
yours, which has prevented me from offering our house to 
Mademoiselle de Meri ; she has complained of this to several 
persons, I understand, but I know not what reason she has to 
do so. The worthy is in raptures with your letters ; I often 
show him passages that I know will please him. He thanks 
you for what you say of the Moral Essays ; he was delighted 
with them himself. The little girl is still with us ; she has an 
active little mind which has never been exercised, and we take 
pleasure in improving it. She is in perfect ignorance ; it is an 
amusement to us to give her some general knowledge : a few 
words of this great universe, of empires, countries, kings, re- 
ligions, and wars, of astronomy and geography. It is pleasant 
to see the unfolding of all these things in a little head which 
has never beheld a town or a river, and who thought the 
whole world extended no further than our park ; she amuses 
us highly. I informed her to-day of the capture of Wismar ; 
she knows we are sorry for it, because the king of Sweden 
is our ally. Such are our amusements. The princess is 
delighted that her daughter has taken Wismar; she is a 
true Dane. Sbe has asked monsieur and madame to ex- 



150 LETTERS TO 

empt her entirely from the soldiery, so that we shall all be 
safe. 

Madame de la Fayette is very grateful for your letter ; she 
thinks you very polite and obliging. But does it not appear 
strange to you that her brother-in-law is not dead, and that 
such mistakes should arise at the short distance of Toulon and 
Aix ? Upon the questions you put to the f rater I decide 
boldly, that he who is angry, and shows his anger, is prefer- 
able to the deceiver, who conceals his malignity under fair and 
specious appearances. There is a stanza in Ariosto descriptive 
of guile.* I would transcribe it, but I have not time to 
(ook for it. The good D'Hacqueville stills talks to me of the 
journey of St. Geran, and to prove how short her stay will be, 
he says she can only receive one of my letters at Palisse. 
This is how he treats an acquaintance of a week ; he is just 
the same with respect to others, but this is excellent. I forgot 
to say that I had thought like you of the different ways of 

* "We shall probably gratify the reader by inserting this stanza: 

Havea piaceval viso, abito onesto, 
Un umil valger d'occhi, un andar grave, 
Un parlar si benigao, e si modesto 
Che parea Gabriel, che dicesse : Ave, 
Era brutta e deforme in tutto il resto 
Ma nasconde queste fattezze prave 
Con lungo abito, e largo, e sotto quello 
Attosicato avea sempre il coltello. 

Orlando Furioso. Canto xiv. 

Her garb was decent, lovely was her face, 
Her eyes were bashful, sober was her pace ; 
"With speech whose charms might every heart assail, 
Like his who gave the blest salute of — Hail ! 
But all deformed and brutal was the rest, 
Which close she covered with her ample vest, 
Beneath whose folds, prepared for bloody strife, 
Her hand for ever grasped a poisoned knife. 

Hoole's Translation. Book xiv 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 151 

painting the human heart, some white and others blacker than 
black. You know what color mine is of for you. 



LETTER LIV. 

(MADAME DE SEVIGNE DICTATES HER SON WRITES.) 

The Rocks, Monday, Feb. 3, 1676. 
Guess, my dear child, what it is that comes the quickest, 
and goes off the slowest ; that brings you nearest to health, 
and removes you the furthest from it ; that throws you into 
the most agreeable situation imaginable, and, at the same time, 
hinders you from enjoying it ; that flatters you with the most 
pleasing hopes, and keeps you the longest from the accomplish- 
ment of them. Can not you guess ? Do you give it up ? 
Why, it is the rheumatism. I have had it these three and 
twenty days ; since the fourteenth day I have been free from 
fever and pain, and in this delightful situation, thinking my- 
self strong enough to walk, which is the summit of my wishes, 
I find myself swelled all over — feet, legs, hands, arms ; and this 
swelling, which they call my cure, and in reality is so, is the 
sole occasion of my present vexation ; were I good for any 
thing, I might gain myself some credit by it. However, I be- 
lieve the enemy is conquered, and that in two days I shall be 
able to walk. Larmechin gives me great hope of this. I every 
day receive letters from our friends at Paris, congratulating 
me on my recovery. I have taken M. de Lorme's opening 
powders, which have been of great service to me ; I am going 
to take them again ; they are a never-failing remedy in these 
cases. After this attack I am promised an eternal succession 
of health. God grant it. My first step will be to return to 
Paris. I desire you, therefore, my dear, to calm all your 
fears ; you see what a faithful account we have given you of 
the affair ; let that make you easy. 



152 LETTERS TO 

LETTER LV. 

Paris, Wednesday, April 15, 1676. 

I am very melancholy, my dear ; my poor boy is just gone ; 
he has so many little social virtues that are the charm of so- 
ciety, that were he only an acquaintance I should regret his 
loss. He desired me, over and over again, to tell you that he 
forgot to take notice to you of the story of your Proteus, who 
was at one time a capuchin, at another time a galley-slave ; he 
was highly amused at it. It is supposed we are going to un- 
dertake the siege of Cambray ; this is so extraordinary a step, 
that every one thinks we have had intelligence with some one 
in the place. If we lose Philipsburg, it will be very difficult 
to repair the breach : vederemo, we shall see. But still we 
reason and make almanacs, all of which end with, the king's 
star will prevail. 

At length Marshal Bellefond has cut the thread that tied 
him here. Sanguin has purchased his place* for 55,000 livres, 
and a brevet de retenue of 350,000. This is a fine settlement, 
and an assurance of a cordon bleu.f M. de Pomponne has 
paid me a very cordial visit ; all your friends have exerted 
themselves wonderfully. I do not go out yet. The cold winds 
retard the cure of my hands, and yet I write better than I did, 
as you may see. I turn myself at night on my left side ; I 
eat with my left hand : these are left hand performances. My 
face is very little altered ; you would soon discover that you 
have seen it somewhere before ; it is because I have not been 
bled, and have endeavored to get cured of my illness without 
such remedies. I thank you for mentioning the pigeons to 
me. Where has the little one acquired this timidity ? I am 
afraid you will throw the blame upon me : you cast a sus- 

* Of premier maitre-d'hotel, or lord chamberlain, to the king. 

f M. de Sanguin was not created a knight of the king's order at the 
promotion in 1688, but the Marquis de Livri his son, who was premier 
maitre-d'hotel, was comprehended in that of 1724. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 153 

picious eye toward me. This humor will, I dare say, pass off, 
and you will not be obliged to make a monk of him. I am 
resolved to go to Vichi ; they have set me against Bourbon on 
account of the air. The Marechale d'Etrees wishes me to go 
to Vichi ; she says it is a delightful country. I have told you 
what I think of that affair ; either resolve to return hither 
with me, or do not come at all ; for a fortnight will only dis- 
turb me with constant thoughts of a separation, and will be 
on the whole a foolish and useless expense. You know how 
dear the sight of you is to me, so take your own measures. 

I wish you had finished the bargain about your estate : M. 
de Pomponne tells me it is raised to a marquisate. I desired 
him to make it a dukedom : he assured me it would give him 
great pleasure to do so, and that he would use all expedition 
in drawing up the patents. This is a considerable step. I am 
delighted to hear the pigeons are so well. How does the little 
tiny, or rather the great fat one do ? I love him dearly, for 
resolving to live against wind and tide. But I can not forget 
my little girl ;* I suppose you will determine on putting her 
to Saint Marie, according to the resolutions you adopt this 
summer ; all depends upon that. You seem satisfied with the 
devotions of Passion and Easter weeks : you shut yourself up 
at Grignan. For my part, my thoughts were not affected with 
any thing. I had no object to strike the senses. I ate meat till 
Good Friday, and had only the comfort of being very distant 
from any opportunity of committing sin. I told La Mousse 
you remembered him, and he advises you to make the most 
of your man of wit. Adieu, my dear child. 



LETTER LVI. 

Paris, Wednesday, April 29, 1676. 
I must begin by telling you that Conde was token by storm 
on Saturday night. The news at first made my heart beat ; 

* Marie-Blanche d'Athemar, born the 15th November, 1610. 

7* 



154 LETTERS TO 

I feared the victory had cost us dear, but it does not prove so ; 
we have lost some men, but none of any note ; this may be 
reckoned a complete happiness. Larei, the son of M. Laine, 
who was killed in Candia, or his brother, is dangerously 
wounded. You see how soon our old heroes are forgotten. 

Madame de Brinvilliers is not so comfortable as I am ; she 
is in prison, and endeavors to pass her time there as pleasantly 
as she can ; she desired yesterday to play at piquet, because 
she was dull. Her confession has been found ; it informs us 
that at the age of seven years she ceased to be a virgin ; that 
she had ever since gone on at the same rate ; that she had 
poisoned "her father, her brothers, one of her children, and 
herself; but the last was only to make trial of a counter-poi- 
son. Medea was a saint compared with her. She has owned 
this confession to be her own writing ; it was an unaccounta- 
ble folly ; but she says she was in a high fever when she wrote 
it, and that it was an act of madness or frenzy, which does 
not deserve a serious thought. 

The queen has been twice at the Carmelites with Madame 
de Montespan. The latter set on foot a lottery ; she collected 
every thing that could be useful to the nuns ; this was a great 
novelty and amusement in the convent. She conversed a long 
time with sister Louise* de la Misericorde, and asked her 
whether it was really true that she was as happy there as it 
had been generally reported. She replied, " I am not happy, 
but I am contented." Quanto talked to her a great deal of 
the brother of monsieur ; and asked her if she had no message 
to send him, and what she should say to him for her. She 
replied in the sweetest tone and manner possible, though per- 
haps a little piqued at the question ; " Whatever you please, 
madam, whatever you please." Fancy this to be expressed 
with all the grace, spirit, and modesty, which you so well un- 
derstand. Quanto afterward wished for something to eat, and 
sent to purchase some ingredient that was necessary for a sauce 
she prepared herself, and which she ate with a wonderful ap- 

* Madame de la Valliere. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 155 

petite. I tell you the simple fact without the least embellish- 
ment. When I think of the letter you wrote me last year 
about M. de Vivonne, I consider all I send you as a burlesque. 
To what lengths will not folly lead a man wh< 
deserving of such exaggerated praise ! 




LETTER LVII. 

Paris, Friday, July" 
At length it is all over : La Brinvilliers is in the air ; after 
her execution her poor little body was thrown into a large fire, 
and her ashes dispersed by the wind, so that whenever we 
breathe, we shall inhale some particles of her, and by the com- 
munication of the minute spirits, we may be all infected with 
the desire of poisoning, to our no small surprise. She was 
condemned yesterday ; and this morning her sentence was 
read to her, which was to perform the amende honorable in the 
church of Notre-Dame ; and, after that, to have her head cut 
off, her body burned, and her ashes thrown into the air. They 
were for giving her the question, but she told them there was 
no occasion for that, and that she would confess every thing ; 
accordingly, she was till five o'clock in the evening relating 
the history of her life, which has been more shocking than 
was even imagined. She gave poison to her father ten times 
successively, but without effect, and also to her brother, and 
several others, at the same time preserving the appearance of 
the greatest love and confidence. She has said nothing against 
Penautier. Notwithstanding this confession, they gave her 
the question, ordinary and extraordinary, the next morning ; 
but this extorted nothing more from her. She desired to 
speak with the procurator-general : no one yet knows the sub- 
ject of their conversation. At six o'clock she was carried in a 
cart, with no other covering than her shift, and with a cord 
round her neck, to the church of Notre-Dame, to perform the 
amende honorable ; after which, she was put again into the 



166 LETTERS TO 

same cart, where I saw her extended on a truss of straw, with 
a confessor on one side, and the hangman on the other ; in- 
deed, my child, the sight made me shudder. Those who saw 
the execution say she mounted the scaffold with great courage. 
I was on the bridge of Notre-Dame, with the good d'Escars ; 
never was Paris in such commotion, nor its attention so fixed 
upon one event. Yet, ask many people what they saw, and 
they will tell you they saw no more than I did, who was not 
present ; in short, the whole day has been dedicated to this 

tragedy. 

— 

LETTER LVIH. 

Livri, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 1676. 
Nothing can be more true than the proverb which says, 
that liberty is destroyed by uncertainty. Were you under 
any sort of restraint, you would have determined what to do 
long ago, and not have been like Mohammed's coffin, suspended 
between heaven and earth ; one of the loadstones would cer- 
tainly, by this time, have got the better of the other. You 
would no longer be dragooned, which is a very unpleasant 
state. The voice you heard, in passing the Durance, exclaim, 
Ah, mother t mother ! would pierce to Grignan : or at least, 
that which counseled you to leave it, would not haunt you at 
Briare ; for which reason, I maintain that nothing can be more 
opposite in its nature to liberty than indifference and indeci- 
sion. Can it be possible that the sage La Garde, who has, it 
seems, resumed all his wonted wisdom, has likewise lost his 
free will ? is he incapable of advising you ? can he be at a 
loss to decide in this important point ? you have seen that I 
decide like one of the councils. But how is it that La Garde, 
who is coming to Paris himself, can not contrive that his jour- 
ney may take place at the same time with yours ? If you do 
come, it would be no bad thought to take the way of Sully ; 
the little duchess would certainly convey you as far as Ne- 
mours ; at least, you would find some friend or other, from 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 157 

day to day, so that you would have a relay of friends, till you 
found yourself in your own apartment. You would have met 
with a better reception last time, but your letter came so late 
that you took every body by surprise, and had nearly missed 
me, which would have been a fine circumstance indeed ; but 
we will contrive to keep clear of this inconvenience in future. 
I can not help praising the chevalier,* who arrived in Paris on 
Friday evening, and dined here on Saturday ; was is not very 
good of him ? I was delighted to see him, and I assure you 
we spoke with great freedom of your scruples. I am now 
going to take a trip to Paris. I must see M. de Louvois on 
y mr brother's account, who is still here without leave, which 
\ exes me not a little. I want to talk to M. Colbert likewise, 
about your pension : these two visits are all I have to make. I 
have some thoughts of going to Versailles, but will acquaint 
you whether I do so or not. In the mean time, we have the 
finest weather imaginable ; the country has yet put on none 
of its horrors, and St. Hubert has favored the hunter ex- 
tremely. 

We are still reading Saint Augustine with pleasure : there 
is something so great and noble in his* ideas, that all the mis- 
chief that weak minds can possibly receive from his doctrine, 
falls infinitely short of the good which others may derive from 
the perusal. You will imagine I give myself airs of a learned 
lady ; but when you see in what a familiar style this is writ- 
ten, you will cease to wonder at my capacity. You tell me 
that if you did not love me a great deal more than you say, 
you should love me very little : I am strangely tempted to 
scold you for this, even though I should risk the saying an 
unkind or an uncivil thing : but no ; I am fully persuaded 
you love me ; and God knows much better than it is possible 
for you to do, what a strong affection I entertain for you. I 
am glad to hear Pauline is like me, she will serve to put you 
in mind of me. " Ah ! mother, there is no need of that. 17 

* De Grignan. 



158 LETTERS TO 



LETTER LIX. 



Livri, Friday, Nov. 6, 1676. 

Surely there never was so brilliant a letter as your last ; I 
had some thoughts of sending it back, that you might have 
the pleasure of perusing it. I could not help wondering while 
I read it, how it was possible to wish so ardently to receive no 
more. This, however, is the affront I put on your letters : you 
seem to treat mine much more civilly. 

This Reimond is certainly hem ! hem ! with the head-dress 
you know so well ; she has dressed in this style, as you prop- 
erly observe, that she might seem qualified to hear the music 
of the blessed above ; and our sisters have done the same 
from the wish of obtaining a fund of seven thousand livres, 
with a pension of a thousand, by which she is enabled* " to 
go abroad when she likes, and she likes it very often." We 
have never had such merchandize before ; but the beauty of 
our house causes us to overlook every thing ; for my own part, 
I am quite delighted with it : for in my opinion both her 
apartments and her voice are divine, hem, hem. 

The dates you mention in speaking of Madame de Soubise, 
are, thank, God, among those which have escaped my mem- 
ory. Some marked incivility must certainly have been 
shown during the festivities at Versailles. Madame de Cou- 
langes informs me that the tooth has disappeared since the 
day before yesterday ; in that case, you will conclude they can 
have no tooth against her. You are very amusing upon my 
friend's f illness, and at the same time it is all true. The 
quartan ague of our friend of the suburbs,^ is happily at an 
end. I have sent your letter to the chevalier, § without ap- 
prehension or reproof. I love him sincerely ; and as for my 
pigeon, I wish I could give him a kiss ; I have some idea in 

* Madame de Sevigne recants a little. See the Letter of the 21st 
October. •)• Madame de Coulanges. 

\ Madame de la Fayette. § De Grignan. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 159 

inj head, I know not how truly, that leads me to think I shall 
one day or other see all these little folks. I can not under- 
stand the eight months' child ; pray is she likely to live a 
century ? I fancy the gentlemen that fought it out so bravely 
in the streets, are in a fair way to live as long. It would 
really be a very pretty and just punishment for a battle in the 
midst of summer. Adieu, my dear lovely child, I shall finish 

this in the good city of Paris. 

Friday, at Paris. 

So ! here I am. I have been dining at the worthy Bag- 
nol's, where I found Madame de Coulanges in this charming 
apartment, embellished with the golden rays of the sun, 
where I have often seen you, almost as beautiful and as bril- 
liant as he. The poor convalescent gave me a hearty wel- 
come, and is now going to write two lines to you ; it is, for 
aught I know, something from the other world, which I am 
sure you will be very glad to hear. She has been giving me 
an account of a new dress called transparencies. Pray, have 
you heard of it ? It is an entire suit of the finest gold and 
azure brocade that can be seen, over which is a black robe, 
either of beautiful English lace, or velvet chenille like the 
winter laces you have seen ; this occasions the name of trans- 
parency, which is, you see, a black suit, and a suit of gold 
and azure, or any other color, according to the fancy of the 
wearer, as is all the fashion at present. This was the dress 
worn at the ball on St. Hubert's day, which lasted a whole 
half-hour, for nobody would dance. The king pushed Ma- 
dame d'Heudicourt into the middle of the room by main force ; 
she obeyed, but at length the combat ended for want of com- 
batants. The fine embroidered boddices destined for Villers- 
Coterets serve to walk out on an evening, and were worn on 
St. Hubert's day. The prince informed the ladies at Chan- 
tilly, that their transparencies would be a thousand times more 
beautiful if they would wear them next their skin, which I 
very much doubt. The Granceis and Monacos did not share 
in the amusements, because the mother of the latter is ill, and 



160 LETTERS TO 

the mother of the angels has been at death's door. It is said, 
the Marchioness de la Ferte has been in labor there, ever 
since Sunday, and that Bouchet is at his wit's end. 

M. de Langlee has made Madame de Montespan a present 
of a robe of gold cloth, on a gold ground, with a double gold 
border embroidered and worked with gold, so that it makes 
the finest gold stuff ever imagined by the wit of man. It was 
contrived by fairies in secret, for no living wight could have 
conceived any thing so beautiful. The manner of presenting 
it was equally mysterious. Madame de Montespan's mantua- 
maker carried home the suit she had bespoke, having made it 
to fit ill on purpose ; you need not be told what exclamations 
and scoldings there were upon the occasion. " Madam," said 
the mantua-maker, trembling with fear, " as there is so little 
time to alter it in, will you have the goodness to try whether 
this other dress may not fit you better ?" It was produced. 
" Ah !" cried the lady, " how beautiful ! What an elegant 
stuff is this ? Pray, where did you get ? It must have fallen 
from the clouds, for a mortal could never have executed any 
thing like it." The dress was tried on ; it fitted to a hair. 
In came the king. " It was made for you, madam," said the 
mantua-maker. Immediately it was concluded that it must 
be a present from some one ; but from whom ? was the ques- 
tion. " It is Langlee," said the king. " It must be Langlee," 
said Madame de Montespan; "nobody but Langlee could 
have thought of so magnificent a present — it is Langlee, it is 
Langlee !" Every body exclaims, " It is Langlee, it is Lang- 
lee !" The echoes repeat the sound. And I, my child, to be 
in the fashion, say, " It is Langlee." 



LETTER LX. 

Paris, Wednesday, June 30, 16f7. 
At length you inform me that you are arrived at Grignan. 
The pains you have taken to keep our correspondence uninter- 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 161 

rupted, is a continual mark of your affection. I can assure 
you that you are not mistaken in the opinion that I stand in 
need of this support ; indeed no one can be more in want of 
it. It is true, however, and I too often think so, that your 
presence would have been of much greater service to me ; but 
your situation was so extraordinary, that the same considera-? 
tions that determined you to go, made me consent to your de- 
parture, without doing any thing more than stifle my senti- 
ments. It was considered a crime in me to discover any un- 
easiness with regard to your health. I saw you perishing 
before my eyes, and was not permitted to shed a tear. It was 
killing you, it was assassinating you ; I was compelled to sup- 
press my grief. I never knew a more cruel or more unprece- 
dented species of torture. If, instead of that restraint, which 
only increased my affliction, you had owned that you were ill ; 
and if your love for me had been productive of complaisance, 
and made you evince a real desire to follow the advice of 
physicians, to take nourishment, to observe a regimen, and to 
own that repose and the air of Livri would have done you 
good, this would indeed have comforted me, but your oppo- 
sition to our sentiments aggravated my grief and anxiety. In 
the end, my child, we were so circumstanced, that we could 
not possibly avoid acting as we did. God explained to us 
his will by that conduct; but we should endeavor to see 
whether he will not permit us mutually to reform, and 
whether, instead of that despair to which you condemned me 
from a motive of affection, it would not be more natural 
and more beneficial to give our hearts the liberty they re- 
quire, and without which it is impossible for us to lead a life 
of tranquillity. Thus I have declared my mind to you freely 
once for all. I shall mention the subject no more, but let us 
each reflect upon the past, that, whenever it pleases God to 
bring us together again, we may carefully avoid falling into 
the same errors. The relief which you have found in the fa- 
tigues of so long a journey, sufficiently proves the necessity 
you are under of laying aside restraint. Extraordinary reme- 



162 LETTERS TO 

dies are necessary for persons of an extraordinary character ; 
physicians would never have dreamed of such a one as that 1 
have just mentioned. God grant it may continue to produce 
the same good effect, and that the air of Grignan may not 
prove injurious to you ! I could not avoid writing to you in 
this manner, in order to relieve my heart, and intimate to you 
that we must endeavor, when next we meet, not to give any 
one an opportunity of paying us the wretched compliment of 
saying very civilly, that to keep quite well, we should never 
. see one another again. I am astonished at the patience that 
can bear so cruel a thought. 

You brought the tears into my eyes in speaking of your 
little boy. Alas, poor child ; who can bear to see him in 
such a situation ! I do not retract what I always thought of 
him ; but am of opinion that, even from affection, we ought 
to wish him already in a happier world. Paulina appears to 
me worthy of being made your play-thing ; her resemblance 
even will not displease you, at least, I hope it will not. That 
little quadrangular nose is a feature you can not possibly dis- 
like to find at Grignan.* It seems to me somewhat odd that 
the noses of the Grignan family should admit no shape but 
this, and should be altogether averse to a nose like yours, 
which might have been sooner formed ; but they dreaded ex- 
tremes, though they did not care about a trifling modification. 
The little marquis is a very pretty fellow ; you should not be 
at all uneasy at his not being altered for the better. Talk to 
me a great deal about the persons you associate with, and the 
amusements they afford you. 



LETTER LXL 

Livri, Saturday, July 3, 1677. 

Alas, how grieved I am at the death of your poor child !f 

it is impossible not be affected at it. Not 1hat I was ever of 

* This alludes to Madame de Sevigne's nose, which inclined to the 
square. f The child that was born in February 1676. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 163 

opinion he could live ; the description you gave convinced me 
tli at his case was desperate. But, it is a great loss to you, 
who had lost two boys before : God preserve to you the only 
one that remains ! He discovers an admirable disposition ; I 
am much better pleased with sound sense and just reasoning, 
at his age, than with the vivacity of those who turn out fools 
at twenty. Be satisfied with him, therefore ; lead him like a 
horse that has a tender mouth, and remember what I told you 
respecting his bashfulness; this advice comes from persons 
much wiser than myself; and I am sure it is good. With re- 
gard to Paulina, I have one word to say to you ; from your 
description of her she may, perhaps, in time, become as hand- 
some as yourself; when a child, you were exactly like her. 
God grant she may not resemble me in having a heart so sus- 
ceptible of tenderness ! I see plainly that you love her, that 
she is amiable, and that she amuses you. I wish I could em- 
brace her, and recognize that face again which I have seen 
somewhere. 



LETTER LXH. 



Livri, Friday, July 16, 1677. 
I wish, my dear child, that you had a tutor for your son ; 
it is a pity his mind should be left uncultivated. I doubt 
whether he is yet of an age to eat all sorts of food promiscu- 
ously ; we should examine whether children are strong and 
robust, before we give them strong meats ; otherwise we run 
the hazard of injuring their stomachs, which is of great conse- 
quence. My son stays behind to take leave of his friends ; he 
will then come to me here ; he must afterward join the army, 
and after that he may go and drink the waters. An officer, 
named M. D****, has lately been cashiered for absenting him- 
self ; I know the answer you will make, but this instance suf- 
ficiently shows the severity of military discipline. Adieu, my 
dear child ; be comforted for the loss of your son ; nobody is 



164 LETTERS TO 

to blame concerning him. His death was occasioned by 
teething, and not by a defluxion upon the lungs ; when chil- 
dren have not strength sufficient to force out the teeth at a 
proper time, they are never able to bear the necessary motion 
to make them all come at once ; I talk learnedly. You know 
the answer of Sully's green bed to M. de Coulanges, made by 
Guillerague ; it is droll enough ; Madame de Thianges repeated 
it to the king, who sings it ; it was said at first, that he had 
ruined himself by it ; but it is not true, it will perhaps make 
his fortune. If ^ this discourse does not come from a green 
mind, it comes from a green head, which is the same, and the 
color of the thing can not be disputed. 



LETTER LXin. 



Livri, "Wednesday Evening, July 24, 1677. 

Love Paulina, love Paulina, my child ! indulge yourself in 
that amusement ; do not destroy your peace of mind by de- 
priving yourself of her; what are you afraid of? You may 
still send her to a convent for a few years, when you think it 
necessary. Enjoy maternal affection for a while ; it is exquisite 
when it springs from the heart, and the choice falls upon an 
amiable object. Dear Paulina ! methinks I see her here ; she 
will resemble you, notwithstanding she bears the mark of the 
workman. It is true, this nose is a strange affair ; but it will 
improve, and I will answer for it, she will be handsome, 

Madame de Vins is still here ; she is now in my closet, en-, 
gaged in conversation with D'Hacqueville and my son. His 
heel is still so bad that he may perhaps go to Bourbon when 
I go to Vichi. Be under no concern about this journey ; and 
since it is not the will of Heaven that I should enjoy the 
charms of your society, we must yield obedience to his will ; 
it is a bitter evil, but it must be endured ; we are the weakest, 
and to attempt resistance is vain. I should be too happy if 
your friendship was clothed in all its realities ; it is still ex« 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 165 

tremely dear to me, though divested of the charms and plea- 
sures which your presence and company bestow upon it. My 
son and I will answer all you have said on the subject of epic 
poetry. The contempt I know he has for Eneas, makes me 
apprehensive he will be of your opinion. Yet all the great 
wits have a taste for every thing written by the ancients. 



LETTER LXIV. 

Epoisses, "Wednesday morning, August 25, 1677. 
I have here, my beloved child, received your letter of the 
11th, which I expected with so much impatience ; I am not 
used to such delays ; it renders my whole journey uncomfort- 
able to be thus disappointed. M. Guitaut does all he can to 
convince me how extremely glad he is to see me here. All 
our people are at Boubilly, where the farmer treated us yes- 
terday with a most plentiful dinner. M. de Guitaut and M. de 
Trichateau were there ; this gave an air of comfort to the 
frightful Boubilly-house. I shall continue here till Sunday, 
and will write to you once more from this place. There is no 
sort of constraint in this house, so that I can read, work, or 
walk out, when I please. My host and I have a great deal of 
conversation together, and there is hardly a country you can 
name where we have not been travelers. He tells me a thou- 
sand stories of Provence, of the intendant and Vardes, which 
I was ignorant of till now. He seems very devout ; follows 
good teachers ; has a great desire to pay his old debts, and to 
contract no new ones. This is the first step to be taken when 
we become acquainted with true religion. 



LETTER LXV. 

Yichi, Wednesday evening, Sept. 22, 1677. 
I have just received a letter of the 15th. I fancy it has 
taken a trip to Paris. The chevalier has received one from 



166 LETTERS TO 

the* handsome abbe, of the same date-, which shows me you 
were well, at least on that day. It is true that if Vardes had 
mentioned your illness to me, in terms ever so little stronger 
than those he used, no consideration would have kept me from 
you # ; but he managed so well, that I have no food for uneasi- 
ness but what is passed by. I conjure you, my beloved child, 
to send me word of the return of your health and beauty. I 
can not dispense with this intelligence, nor can I endure the 
thoughts of your being less handsome at your age. Do not 
fancy, therefore, that you can reconcile me to your extreme 
thinness, which is too plain a proof of your ill state of health : 
mine is as perfect as it can be. I put an end to-morrow to all 
my business, and take my last medicine. I have drunk the 
waters sixteen days, have twice used the pump and the hot- 
bath ; but the pump was two much for me, and I am sorry for 
it, but it made me too hot and giddy ; in short, I had no oc- 
casion for it, and drinking the waters was sufficient. I set out 
on Friday for Langlar. My messmates, Termes, Flamarens, 
and Jussac, will follow me thither. The chevalier will come to 
see me on Saturday, and will return on Monday to begin the 
pump. He will be only a week without me. He will receive 
in my absence a thousand presents from my friends, and is very 
well satisfied with me. My hands are better ; the inconve- 
nience is so very slight, that I shall use no remedy but time. 
I am perfectly in despair, my child, at the frightful ideas you 
entertain. Heavens ! is it possible, that in my present state 
of health, I can do you any injury ? It is certainly very much 
against my inclination if I do. I know not whether it is your 
intention to write me such admirable passages as you are ac- 
customed to do. You could not possibly fail to succeed in 
such attempt, and I can assure you they would not be suf- 
fered to be forgotten : you are not sensible of the brilliancy of 
what you say, and so much the better. You have some little 
inclination to divert yourself at the expense of your humble 
servant, as well as at her stays and head-dress ; but you would 
certainly have fallen in love with me had you, seen the fine 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN, 167 

figure I cut at the well. I have a notion the Hotel de Carna- 
valet will suit us better than the other house we heard of, 
which is so small that not one of your people could possibly 
have been accommodated there. We shall see what the great 
D'Hacqueville will do. 'I tremble lest Madame de l'Islebonne 
should take it into her head to stay. I am still very uneasy 
about Corbinelli ; he has been very severely handled by his 
ague, his delirium, and every thing that is frightful. He takes 
the potable gold ; we shall see what effect it produces.* I 
desire you would still talk to me of yourself and your health. 
Do you use no method to repair the loss of your two bleed- 
ings ? Good heavens ! what a disorder ! and what apprehen- 
sions must it give to those who love you ! Here come the 
chevalier and the rest of my old companions, with one who cer- 
tainly plays a better fiddle than Baptiste. We should be de- 
lighted to send you and M. de Grignan a chacone and an echo 
with which he charms us, and with which you would likewise 
be charmed. You shall hear him this winter. 



LETTER LXVI. 

Paris, Friday, October 15, 16*77. 
We have been at Livri for these two days ; Madame de 
Coulanges, who is quite well, doing the honors of the house, 

* The time was at hand when the most pompous names given to the 
most complicated mixture, served to vail the ignorance of the chemists, 
physicians, and apothecaries, and to increase their bills. Potable gold 
was one of those whimsical remedies, of which muriatic acid was the 
basis. The solution of gold, which was added to it, was only used to 
swell the expense. Powdered pearls were also sometimes used to make 
their drugs still dearer. The severe Guy-Patin had no mercy upon these 
quacks. He calls them Arabian cooks, and laughs at their farrago. He, 
and some of his medical friends, prided themselves upon having de- 
stroyed this colossal extortion. Their triumph was premature. The 
cheap medicines they pretended to have restored, were not at that time 
received by people of rank ; and it appears that Corbinelli was treated 
like a nobleman, whether he would or not. 



168 LETTERS TO 

and I the company. We had the Abbe Tetu and Corbinelli 
with us. Mademoiselle de Meri, who was returning from La 
Trousse, came there too, thinking to spend some days with 
Madame de Coulanges ; but this lady has ended her campaign, 
and we all returned yesterday to Paris. Mademoiselle de 
Meri went directly to Madame de MereuiPs, for her own house 
was, it seems, in complete disorder ; and Madame de Cou» 
langes, the Abbe Tetu and I, paid some visits in the country, 
like Madame de la Fayette at Saint Maur, and Madame de 
Schomberg at Rambouillet. I thought of sleeping at Madame 
de Coulanges', but for that night only. I returned here to 
visit the good abbe, who has been bled, and is still much in- 
disposed with his cold ; I am sorry I could not help leaving 
him for this little moment. We live quite in the open air ; all 
my people are as busy as bees in packing up for our removal. 
I encamped in my own bed-chamber ; and am now in that of 
the worthy, my whole furniture being a little table, on which 
I now write to you, and that is sufficient. I fancy we shall all 
be pleased with our Hotel de Carnavalet. We think it strange 
not to have seen Termes, though we have been home these 
nine days. It is easy to guess that he has returned to his col- 
lege, and that his regent gives him not a moment's relaxation. 
I am not at all sorry, as you may very well suppose, and shall 
not reproach him for it ; but ask the chevalier, whether, after 
the great pleasure he took in talking with me at Vichi, such 
extreme indifference be not very singular. It would certainly 
be very indiscreet, if the lady stood in need of being directed, 
and such conduct would be something to talk of; but it is 
impossible to do her any injury. I thought he seemed quite 
delighted at Vichi, on account of the vocation as you say, and 
to be with a good sort of woman, in full assurance of having 
no demands made upon him. This repose charmed him; 
there is sometimes great pleasure in passing from one extreme 
to another. He was mightily taken with the perpetual gos- 
sip of Vichi. You see what the consequence of this has been, 
at which I am under no sort of concern, but I tell it you as I 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 169 

do a thousand things else. When excess and imprudence are 
pushed to a certain extreme, I am persuaded they are more 
injurious to men than women; at least their fortunes are 
always sure to pay considerably for it. But let us leave 
Termes under the ferula ; there is a good deal to be said of 
another old ferula* which discovers its severity too much. 
As for you, my child, you enjoy a real vacation, and make an 
admirable use of the fine weather ; to dine at home in your 
own house is a very extraordinary affair. You write to me 
from Rochecourbiere — what a pretty place to date from ! 
what a delightful grotto ! How amiable you are to remember 
me at that delightful place, and to be sorry that I am not 
there to share its pleasures with you ! Let us leave Provi- 
dence to dispose of affairs at his pleasure ; we shall see one an- 
other again, my love. In the mean time I shall prepare to receive 
you at Carnavalet, where I shall again have the pleasure of ren- 
dering you a thousand little services, which are of no real im- 
portance ; but I am happy in the opportunity, because you 
wrote me word the other day, that little attentions were a 
stronger proof of friendship than any other. It is true, we 
can not set too high a value upon them ; self-love has cer- 
tainly too large a share in what we do on great occasions. 
Tender interest is swallowed up in pride ; this is an idea of 
yours which I would not for the world deprive you of, as I 
find my account in it but too well. 

I am, in regard to the loss of Bayard, precisely in the same 
disposition you guessed I was. Madame de la Fayette is ut- 
terly inconsolable. I have presented your compliments to 

* This old ferula is apparently the Marchioness de Castelnau, who 
was long and publicly the mistress of M. de Termes. The Amours des 
Gaules, in which this is found, has very much defamed this marquis. 
If this part was written by Bussy as well as the rest, he must have been 
very wicked, for his letters show that the Marquis de Termes was his 
steady friend. He also possessed all the requisites to excite his jeal- 
ousy. He was one of those in whom Boileau acknowledged a superior 
mind. "M. de Termes," said he, "is always of the opinion of others, 
and this is true politeness." (Vide la Boleana.) 

8 



170 LETTERS TO 

her. She was then living on a milk diet, which she has dis- 
continued on account of its turning acid on her stomach ; so 
that we have lost this sole ground of hope of the recovery of 
her desperate state of health. That of M. de Maine is cer- 
tainly far from being good. He is at Versailles, where no one 
has seen him ; they say he walks worse than he did. In 
short, I really fancy there is something in it. 



LETTER LXVIL 

Paris, Wednesday, October 27, 1677. 

I shall no longer, my child, ask you why. In three words, 
my horses are thin, my tooth is loose, and my preceptor has 
got the king's evil. All this is dreadful. One might well 
make three grievances of these three answers, and especially 
of the second. I shall not ask you after this, whether your 
watch goes right, for you will then tell me it is broken. 
Paulina answers much better than you do ; nothing can be 
more amusing than the little rogueries she means to be guilty 
of, when she says she will be a rogue some day or other her- 
self. Ah, how sorry I am thai I can not see this dear child ! 
I fancy you will soon console me for this, if you pursue the 
plan I have laid down to you ; you will set out at furthest in 
a week, and will not receive this letter at Grignan. M. de 
Coulanges is to set out to-day by the stage-coach for Lyons, 
where you will find him ; he will inform you how delightfully 
we are accommodated. There was no hesitation in choosing 
the upper part of the house for you and me, and the lower for 
M. de Grignan and his daughters ; so that all will be perfectly 
well. 

I recommend to all your Grignans, who are so careful of 
your health, to see that you do not fall into the Rhone, by the 
cruel pleasure you take in exposing yourself to its greatest 
dangers. I entreat them to turn cowards, and to land with 
you. I find, besides, that I shall be very happy to administer 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 171 

to you some of my chicken-broth. The place you desire at 
my table, you may be assured is yours. The regimen which 
your Grignans prescribe for you is my ordinary fare. I agree 
with Grisoni to banish all ragouts. 



LETTER LXVIH. 



Livri, Wednesday, October 25, 1679. 

I am here alone ; I was loath to suffer any irksomeness but 
my own. No company tempts me to begin my winter so 
soon. If I chose it, I could assume an air of solitude ; but 
after hearing Madame de Brisac say, the other day, that she 
was wholly engaged in her meditations, and had rather too 
much of her own company, I am proud to boast that I have 
passed this whole afternoon in the meadow, in conference with 
our sheep and cows. I have store of good books, especially 
Montaigne ; what could I desire more, since I can not have 
you ? I have the favor of your last letter at this place. You 
fancy I am at Paris, sitting in the chimney-corner, and have, 
no doubt, sitting by your own, received my lamentations on 
the fatigue of your journey ; what a dreadful thing it is to be 
at such a distance ! It is impossible to be more astonished 
than I was to find you with M. and Madame de Memes ; I fan- 
cied you had been deceived, and that you were to have re- 
ceived them at Livri. They write to me to express how much 
they are charmed at the reception you have given them : they 
are very desirous to see me, which is the strongest inducement 
for my returning so speedily. 

You are in the right to suppress Paulina's modesty ; it will 
be worn out by the time she is fifteen ; a premature and ill- 
timed modesty may have sad consequences. You are in jest, 
to thank Corbinelli for the compliment he paid your good 
sense. He merely thinks you superior to others ; and when 
he says so, he says what he thinks, and has no intention to 
flatter you. He would have said a word or two in my letter, 



172 LETTERS TO 

on the compliments you were pleased to make him ; but this 
I intend to wave till my return. M. and Madame de Rohan 
have not thought of making him a present, out of the two 
thousand five hundred pistoles they received at the assembly 
of the States, under the title of the little prince of Leon. Some 
people have a strange destiny ; Corbinelli's seems to be to 
hold ir, the most sovereign contempt what other folks prize in 
the highest degree. It is true, I was very much amused with 
his conversation, and that of the Abbe de Piles ;* they agreed 
in many things, though there were some of harder digestion, 
which they seemed to chew upon. M. de Rochefoucault calls 
this eating hot peas : I am sure they had a good dish of them ; 
for this forest is adapted for such things. The fat abbe has 
entered on his office of gazetteer, so you need be under no un- 
easiness about answers ; he is better calculated for the office 
than I am. 

Your brother is a strange creature ; he could not, for the 
soul of him, help spoiling all the wonders he performed at the 
assembly of the States, by an absurd fancy and a pretense of 
being in love perfectly ridiculous. The object is a Mademoi- 
selle de la Coste, upward of thirty years of age, without for- 
tune or beauty ; even her father says he is very sorry for it, 
ind that it is by no means a fit match for M. de Sevigne ; he 
writes me so himself; I commend and thank him for his pru- 
lence. What do you suppose your brother has done since ? 
le has never quitted his damsel, but has followed her to 
tlennes and Lower Brittany, where she has gone under pre- 
tense of visiting Tonquedec ; he has almost turned her brain, 
and has put her out of conceit with a very proper match she 
had in some degree contracted ; it is the talk of the whole 
province. M de Coulanges, and all my friends in Brittany, 
write to me about it, and are all persuaded he will certainly 

* The same, probably, who has made himself known by his works 
on painting. He studied in the Sorbonne. He afterward went to 
Italy with the younger Amelot, whom he educated. He was also em • 
ployed in several negotiations. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 1V3 

marry her. For my own part, I am convinced of the contrary ; 
but I ask him why he so unnecessarily disgraces his poor 
head, after such a promising commencement ? why he makes 
the lady reject an offer she now looks upon with the most 
sovereign contempt ? and why this perfidy ? If it is not perfi- 
dy, it will have some other name, since I am determined, let 
wbat will happen, never to sign the marriage-contract. If he 
be really in love, so much the worse, for this is a source of the 
most extravagant actions ; but as I think him incapable of that 
passion, I should scruple, were I in his place, thus wantonly to 
wound the repose and the fortune of one he can so easily dis- 
pense with. He is now at the Rocks, from whence he writes 
to me about this journey to Tonquedec's, but not a syllable of 
his Dulcinea, or of this noble flame. Only in general terms, 
a great many fine things, and compliments without number. 
In short, it is an affair I leave entirely to the disposal of Prov- 
idence. 



LETTER LXIX. 



Paris, Friday, Nov. 10, 1679. 
I am no longer a shepherdess, my poor child ; I have left 
with regret my solitary conversation with your letters, and 
your image, aided by Louison, our cows and sheep, and the 
twilight, which I embraced with eagerness, because I would 
neither spare nor flatter myself. I am now in the refinements 
of the Hotel de Carnavalet, where I find I am not less occupied 
with you, that your letters are not less dear to me, or that any 
thing in the world is capable of driving you from my thoughts. 
I shall have little news to tell you ; I know scarcely any at 
present ; but what I hear comes from good authority, and may 
be depended on. You assure me, my dearest child, you are 
perfectly well. God grant it be so ; this is soon said. I wish 
you would not write me such long letters ; I am certain they 
do you harm. Were it not for this consideration, you may 



174 LETTERS TO 

believe I should be glad they were as long as possible ; but 
this apprehension damps all the pleasure I receive from them. 
Du Chene told me the other day nothing could be worse for 
you than much writing. The time must come, my child, 
when you will write less ; and when you are here, you must 
think of your health, and your recovery. We will take care 
to put the Hotel de Carnavalet in as good order as possible 
for you. The good abbe wishes this as much as I do. Pray, 
write me no more bad accounts of yourself, nor imagine that 
your letters are better than your conversation ; I should be 
unworthy of your love were I capable of entertaining such 
a thought. I am convinced of your affection, and I have as 
much relish for your society as those who are most delighted 
with your conversation. Ah ! did you know the power of a 
word, a look, a kind expression, or a caress from you, and from 
what distant countries one of these could bring me, you would 
be convinced, my beauty, that nothing is equal to your pres- 
ence ! The account of your devotion on All-Saints' day has 
affected me strangely. It was delightful to cram all your lit- 
tle ones into the same litter — dear little party ! Had I been 
of your council, I should have given my vote for doing just 
as you did, as you will see by my advice to Paulina, in the 
regular answer I have written her. Lovely child ! it is impos- 
sible she can ever tire you. Enjoy, my love, all these little 
comforts, and instead of thinking of depriving yourself of them, 
think of the numberless evils of this mortal and transitory 
life. 

I finish this letter at Mademoiselle de Meri's, where I also 
close my packet. She is quite exhausted with the vapors and 
evacuations, and is incapable of writing a single syllable ; she 
tells you by me all she should write to you if she were able. 
I have been just visiting that poor chevalier who keeps his bed 
with pains in his neck and hip. This rheumatic humor never 
leaves him ; I have more compassion than other people for 
this disorder. I am of opinion his illness will not be of long 
continuance. He feels the serosities already beginning to dissi- 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 175 

pate. He wants a good pumping, if the season permitted it, 
He gave me his letter to inclose in my packet ; these poor 
sick people must be taken care of; all the rest of Paris is ill 
of a cold : 

Us ne mouraient pas tous ; mais tous etaient frappes. 
They died not all; though none escaped a wound :* 

as you used to say. Adieu, my dear girl ! I embrace you 
with the warmest affection, with all your great and little 
party. 



LETTER LXX. 

Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 16*79. 
What I am going to tell you, my dear child, will both sur- 
prise and vex you. M. de Pomponne is out of favor ; he 
had orders on Saturday evening, as he was returning from 
Pomponne, to resign his office. The king has directed that 
he should receive seven hundred thousand livres, and that his 
pension of twenty thousand livres a year, which he had as 
minister, should be continued to him ; intending, by this, to 
show that he was satisfied with his fidelity. It was M. Col- 
bert who gave him his information, assuring him at the same 
time that he was extremely mortified to be obliged, etc. M. de 
Pomponne asked him whether he might not be allowed the 
honor of speaking to the king, to learn from his own mouth 
what fault he had committed that brought this stroke upon 
him : he was told, he could not ; so he wrote to the king, ex- 
pressing his extreme sorrow, and his utter ignorance of what 
could have contributed to his disgrace. He mentioned his nu- 
merous family, and besought him to have compassion on his 
eight children. Immediately after, he caused the horses to be 
put into his carriage, and returned to Paris, where he arrived 

* A verse of La Fontaine, in his fable of Les Animaux Malades de 
la Peste. 



176 LETTERS TO 

at twelve at night. M. de Chaulnes, Caumartin, and I, had 
been, as I wrote you, on the Friday at Pomponne, where we 
found him and the ladies, who received us with allt he pleas- 
ure imaginable. We chatted all the evening, and played at 
chess : ah ! what a checkmate they were preparing for him at 
St. Germain ! He went thither the next morning, because a 
courier waited for him ; so that M. Colbert, who thought to 
find him on Saturday evening, as usual, knowing he was set out 
for St. Germain, returned instantly, and had nearly killed his 
horses. For ourselves, we did not leave Pomponne till after 
dinner, where we left the ladies. It was necessary to inform 
them of what had happened, by letter ; this was brought by one 
of M. de Pomponne's valets, who arrived at nine on the Sun- 
day at Madame de Vins' apartment ; the man's precipitation, 
and his altered looks, made Madame de Vins fancy he had 
brought the account of M. de Pomponne's death ; so that on 
finding he was only disgraced, she breathed again ; but she 
felt the extent of his misfortune, and when she was sufficiently 
recovered went to acquaint her sister with it. They set out 
that instant, leaving all the little boys in tears ; and arrived 
in Paris at two in the afternoon, overwhelmed with grief. 
You may figure to yourself this interview with M. de Pom- 
ponne, and what they felt on meeting each other in so differ- 
ent a situation from what they were in the evening before. I 
learned this sad intelligence from the Abbe de Grignan, and I 
confess to you it pierced me to the heart. I went to their 
house in the evening ; they saw no company in public. I went 
up stairs, and found them all three. M. de Pomponne em- 
braced me without being able to utter a word ; the ladies 
could not restrain their tears, nor I mine. You would have 
wept too, my child ; it was really a melancholy spectacle ; the 
circumstance of our quitting each other at Pomponne so 
differently, augmented our sorrows. Poor Madame de Vins, 
whom I left in such spirits, could hardly be recognized ; a 
fever of a fortnight could scarcely have altered her more. She 
mentioned you to me, and said she was persuaded you would 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 177 

feel for ner and M. de Pomponne's affliction, which I assured 
her you would. We spoke of the blow she felt from this dis- 
grace, both in regard to her affairs, her situation, and her hus- 
band's fortune. I do assure you, she feels all this in its great- 
est horror. M. de Pomponne, it is true, was not a favorite, 
but his situation gave him an opportunity to obtain certain 
common things, which often make our fortune. There are 
many inferior situations sufficient to make the fortunes of in- 
dividuals. It was besides pleasant to be thus in a manner set- 
tled at court. What a change ! what retrenching, what econ- 
omy, must now be made use of in his family ! Eight children, 
and not to have had time to obtain the smallest favor ! They 
are thirty thousand livres in debt ; you may suppose how little 
they will have left : they are going to a miserable retreat at 
Paris and Pomponne. It is said so many journeys, and some- 
times the attendance of couriers, even that of Bavaria, who 
arrived on the Friday, and whom the king waited for with 
impatience, have contributed to draw this misfortune upon 
them.* But you will easily comprehend in this the ways of 

* The memoirs and letters of the cotemporary writers all agree 
that M. de Pomponne's negligence was the cause of his disgrace. The 
more modern historians, even Henault, keep to the received opinion. 
How could they fail to remark, that Louis XIV., in a memorandum 
written in his own hand, and mentioned by Yoltaire, has himself ex- 
plained very differently the cause of this minister's dismissal? "All 
that passed through his hands, lost the grandeur and strength it ought 
to have displayed, as being the orders of a king of France." These 
are his own words. Every one knows, in reality, that it was from the 
treaty of Nimeguen, a single year prior to M. de Pomponne's disgrace, 
the dominion and authority of Louis XI Y. affected over all Europe, 
were dated. From this period his ministers treated the foreign embas- 
sadors with insulting arrogance. The famous chambers of reunion 
were established. Strasbourg was taken possession of by violence. 
Advances were made into Italy. No conciliatory measures were 
adopted. All the states were irritated. 

Bat besides M. de Pomponne's having the crime of leaning toward 
the Jansenists, Louvois and Colbert, though enemies to each other, 
both labored to ruin him ; the first to place his friend M. Courtin in 

8* 



178 LETTERS TO 

Providence, when I tell you, the President Colbert has his 
place ; as he is in Bavaria, his brother officiates in his absence, 
and wrote to congratulate him, and to surprise him, on the 
back of the letter, as if by mistake ; " To M. Colbert, Min- 
ister and Secretary of State." I paid my compliments of con- 
dolence to the unfortunate family. Reflect a little on the 
power of this family, as well at home as abroad, and you will 
easily perceive it far exceeds that of the other house where a 
wedding is going on.* My poor child, this is a long and cir- 
cumstantial account ; but I think, on such occasions, we can 
not be too particular ; you are pleased we should always be 
talking to you, and in this instance I have perhaps complied 
with your desires too much. When your courier arrives, I 
shall have nowhere to send him ; and it is an additional mor- 
tification to me to find I shall henceforth be entirely useless to 
you ; though it is true, I was already so, by means of Ma- 
dame de Vins ; but that was meant in mere jest. In short, 
my child, all is now at an end, and such is the way of the 
world. M. de Pomponne is better qualified than any man 
upon earth to support this misfortune with courage and with 
truly Christian resignation. Those who have acted like him 
in prosperity, can not fail to be pitied in their misfortunes. 

I must, however, add a word or two respecting your letter ; 
it gave me real consolation. You tell me the little boy is 
quite recovered, and that I should be satisfied with yourself if 
I were to see you. Ah, my child, it is indeed true ; what a 
delightful sight would it be to me to see you really occupied 
with the care of your health, by taking the necessary repose 
to recruit your wasted strength ; it is a pleasure you have 
never yet afforded me. You find this care is by no means 
useless : you already discover its salutary effects ; and if I tor- 

his situation, and the second, his brother Colbert de Croissy. The last 
succeeded, to the great rage of Louvois. 

* Madeleine-Charlotte le Tellier, daughter of M. de Louvois, mar- 
ried the next day, 23d November, Francis Duke of Rochefoucault and 
of Rocheguyon, grandson of M. de la Rochefoucault. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 179 

ture myself here by my endeavors to inspire you with the 
same attention to your welfare, you plainly see I have good 
reason. 



LETTER LXXL 



Paris, Friday, Nov. 24, 1679. 

What a charming letter have I just received from you! 
what exquisite pleasure is it to hear you reason thus ! What 
you say on the subject of medicine delights me. I am per- 
suaded that, with that understanding and quickness of appre- 
hension with which God has endowed you, you might, with a 
little application, soon outstrip the physicians themselves. You 
might, indeed, want a little experience, and perhaps, too, you 
might not kill with impunity as they do ; but I would much 
sooner trust your judgment of a disease than theirs. The only 
real concern of life is undoubtedly the care of our health ; the 
world seems to agree in this. The general question is, " How 
are you ? how are you ?" and yet we are in general wholly 
ignorant of every particular relating to this important science. 
Go on then, go on, my child ; finish the course of your studies ; 
the scarlet gown is all the diploma you will stand in need of, 
as in the play.* Pray, what do you mean by sending us your 
little physician ? I assure you ours have entirely lost their 
credit here, except three or four of our acquaintance, and who 
prescribe the Englishman's recipe ; all the rest are held in 
utter abhorrence. This Englishman recovered Marshal de 
Bellefond the other day from death's door. I do not think 
the first physician has the right secret. 

Is it then true, my child, you have got the better of your 
complaints ? No more pains in the chest, no colic, no pain in 
the legs ? This is as it should be. You see the advantage of 
repose and taking care to recruit yourself. Can you be angry 
with me for chiding you when you neglect yourself, and in* 

* Moli6re's Malade Imaginaire. 



180 LETTERS TO 

humanly abandon all care of your health ? I could talk for 
ten years about this wicked conduct in you, and the benefits 
that result from a contrary conduct. Why can not I embrace 
you and enjoy your company here in the evenings ? I enter 
tl is house with a heavy heart. From nine till twelve at night 
I am as desolate as I was at Livri, and yet I prefer this silence 
and repose to all the evening parties I am invited to in this 
part of the town. I hate going out of an evening. When I 
am not tormented with fears for your health, I feel your ab- 
sence more. The thought of your lungs is like pinching the 
ear to prevent the pain of boring it from being felt : this com- 
parison I heard from you, but the former pain soon returns 
when I am not checked by the other. I confess I never bear 
your absence so well as when I am in fear for your health, and 
I thank you a thousand times for removing the pincers from 
my ears. Madame de Vins stands in need of some equally 
powerful means to remove her affliction at M. de Pomponne's 
disgrace, by which she loses her all. I often visit her, and no 
misfortune shall ever drive me from the house. M. de Pom- 
ponne will easily resolve on what is to be done, and will bear 
his ill-fortune with dignity ; he will again display the virtues 
of a private station, for which we so much admired him at 
Frene. They say he was rather remiss in his office, and made 
the couriers wait too long for their dispatches. He justifies 
himself fully. But, good heavens ! do we not plainly see where 
the fault lies ! Ah ! how would poor Madame du Plessis have 
adored him now ! and how would this similarity of situation 
have cemented their union! Nothing in the world would 
have been so fortunate for him. I have mentioned this to no 
one but Madame de Vins ; I suppose you understand me. 1 
can answer for the justice of my opinion, which is, I dare say, 
your own. The whole court pities him, and have been to pay 
him their compliments of condolence on the occasion. You will 
soon see him recommence the thread of his perfections. We 
have talked a great deal about Providence, a doctrine he un- 
derstands perfectly well. Surely there never was so worthy a 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 181 

minister. M. Colbert, the embassador,* is to succeed in this 
office ; he is a great Mend of the chevalier's. Write all your 
thoughts to the latter ; perhaps Fortune, capricious as she is, 
intends you should reap more advantage through his means 
than from our intimate acquaintance. You will easily strike 
into the right road by what I tell you. How is it possible for 
us to know what Providence has in store for us ? 

I continue my attentions to Mademoiselle de Meri ; the im- 
pression the misfortune of her little domestic makes on her is 
very extraordinary. She tells me she fancies, when any one 
speaks to her, they are shooting at her, as if they had an in- 
tention to kill her. This really does her as much harm as her 
illness. It is a circle ; her anger increases her disorder, and 
her disorder increases her anger. The sum total is, that it is 
a very strange affair, and I employ all my attention to admin- 
ister to her relief. 

Corbinelli gives up the Chevalier de Meri, with his pitiful 
style,f and the ridiculous critique he makes on a wit so free, 
so playful, so charming, as Voiture's : those are to be pitied 
who do not understand him.J I would not have you depend 
on receiving the definition you asked of him, for he has read 
nothing these three months but the Code and the Cujas. He 
is delighted with you for resolving to study medicine : you are 

* Mons. de Colbert de Croissy, brother to the comptroller-general, 
was then in Bavaria, in order to conclude a marriage between Mon- 
seigneur and Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria. 

f M. de Meri had known and loved Madame de Maintenon from her 
infancy. He had brought her out into the world under the name of the 
Young Indian. He cultivated her friendship in all circumstances. But 
what is singular is, that he would have married her, and that he made 
her the offer of his hand at the very time that Louis thought of making 
her his wife. The letters of M. de Meri, which were found in Madame 
de Maintenon's collection, were indeed emphatic, heavy, and pedantic, 
and well deserved the name " pitiful style" (chien de style). 

X The French editors observe, justly enough, that as much may be 
said in regard to those who can not find out the value of these letters 
of Madame de Sevigne. 



182 \ LETTERS TO 

a prodigy in his opinion. The calm ingratitude of M. and 
Madame Richelieu is indeed a prodigy ; you describe it very 
pleasantly. M. le Grand, and some others, said seriously the 
other day at St. Germain, that M. Richelieu had made an ad- 
mirable siege : it was supposed he had been reading some book 
about the great Richelieu's in the civil wars ; not so, he meant 
Richelieu the tapestry-maker, who has made an admirable 
siege that hangs in his wife's apartment. 

Madame de Coulanges has been at court this fortnight; 
Madame de Maintenon had a cold, and would not part with 
her. I must tell you of a quarrel she had with the Countess 
de Grammont.* The latter was scorching her fine complexion 
over the fire, making chocolate ; Madame de Coulanges would 
have saved her the trouble. The Countess bid her leave her 
to herself, for it was the only pleasure she had left. Madame 
de Coulanges answered, "Ah, ingrate !" This expression, 
which at any other time would have made her laugh, embar- 
rassed and disconcerted her so highly, that she could not get 
the better of it, and they have not spoken since. The Abbe 
Tetu said, very rudely, to our neighbor, " But, madame, had 
she answered you, ' The pot calls the kettle black,' what would 
you have found to say ?" " Sir," said she, " I am no pot, 
though she is a kettle." So here is another quarrel. Quanto 
and the sick lady are both on the high ropes ; the latter is so 
much in favor with the fountain of all good things, that it oc- 
casions a great deal of animosity. I could tell you a thousand 
trifles if you were here. 

Ah, my child, you tell me I have nothing to do but laugh, 
when I have your absence to support ; I could almost find in 
my heart to say, " Ah ! ingrate !" Do not you remember 
what this absence of yours has made me suffer ? Are not you 
the sensible and true occupation of my heart ? You well 
know, and you ought to feel, what a terrible addition the fear 
of hearing you are indisposed, and chilled by the piercing air 

* Elizabeth Hamilton, lady of the bed-chamber to Queen Maria 
Theresa, of Austria. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 183 

of Grignan, makes to this apprehension. You are unjust if 
you are at a loss to guess my sentiments, which are so very 
natural, and so full of true affection for you. 



LETTER LXXII. 



Paris, Friday, January 26, 1680. 

I begin with the state of your health, as the subject nearest 
my heart. It is without disparagement to this favorite idea, 
that I see and hear what passes in the world. Events are 
more or less interesting to me as they are more or less con- 
nected with you ; even the attention I pay to news springs 
from the same source. I find you well nursed, my dear child, 
and kept in cotton. You are not in the whirlwind, so that I 
am perfectly easy with regard to your quiet ; but then I am 
by no means so with respect to that heaviness, and those heats 
you are troubled with ; and then again that pain you endure, 
with no north-easterly winds, or extraordinary fatigue to oc- 
casion it. I could wish to have a little further information 
on this particular, which is of so much importance to me. 
The care that is taken of you can not be wholly owing to pre- 
caution, nor without good reason. I wish you may be sincere 
in your resolution, no longer to destroy yourself with your 
writing-desk. Confirm me, I beseech you, in my good opinion 
of you, and never again write me such long letters, since 
Montgobert acquits herself so well of the office ; and, as I have 
already told you, may also save you the trouble of dictating. 
I could wish, too, she would now and then add a word or 
two of her own, relative to the state of your health. 

I have at last received a letter from my son, who is at 
Nantes. He was but twenty days on the road ; he traveled 
only ninety leagues from Brittany in the month of January, to 
spend the holidays, and without one spark of love in his 
heart ! I have written to him to take care how he tells this 
story to others, and that, to save his reputation, he ought to 



184 LETTERS TO 

allege some flame, real or pretended ; otherwise he would ap- 
pear more a Breton than the Bretons themselves. I have 
also entreated him not to stay at Nantes, on account of my 
affairs ; they are not a plausible excuse, and I should be sorry 
to pass for so silly or so covetous a being, as to prefer things 
which are of no consequence to the necessity of his paying 
his attendance at court on such an occasion as the present. 
He seems to me to be under some embarrassment ; but he 
will return soon enough to set out with M. de Chaulnes. 
Mark my goodness, I have secured him a place in his carriage. 
Madame de Soubise is no longer talked of ; she even seems 
forgotten already. In fact, there are a thousand other things 
to employ our attention at present ; and I am foolish enough 
myself to venture on some other topic. For these two days it 
has been, as in the affair of mademoiselle and M. de Lauzun, 
a constant bustle, sending to learn the news, paying visits 
from house to house, to learn what is passing ; curiosity is 
on the stretch, and this is what has come out, in expectation 
of the remainder.* 

* La Yoisin, La Yigoreux, and a priest of the name of Le Sage, 
known at Paris as conjurers and casters of nativities, added to this jug- 
glery the secret practice of poisons, which they denominated succession 
powder. They did not fail to accuse those who applied to them for one 
thing, of having had recourse to them for another. It is thus Marshal 
de Luxembourg was exposed, by his intendant Bonard, for having 
made some extravagant exorcism with Le Sage, for the purpose of re- 
covering his lost papers. The vindictive Louvois seized the opportunity 
to ruin, or, at least, to torment him. 

Besides the persons here named, Madame de Polignac was decreed tc 
be imprisoned, and Madame de la Ferte, as well as the Countess du 
Roure, to be personally summoned. 

The Countess de Soissons was accused of having poisoned her hus- 
band; Madame d'Alluie, her father-in-law; Madame de Tingry, ber 
children ; Madame de Polignac, a valet who was in possession of her 
secret ; and this secret was, that she wished to give the king a charm, 
to make herself beloved by him. 

The king gave the Duchess de Foix a note, written by her to La 
Voisin, expressed in these terms, " The more I rub the less they pro- 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 185 

M. de Luxembourg was at Saint Germain on Wednesday; 
the king frowned on him more than usual ; he was told there 
was a warrant issued to apprehend him ; he asked to be per- 
mitted to speak to the king ; you may conjecture what was 
said. The king told him that if he were innocent, he had 
nothing to do but to throw himself voluntarily into prison, and 
that he had appointed such upright judges to make inquiry 
into affairs of this kind, that he left every thing to them. M. 
de Luxembourg immediately took coach, and went to Father 
de la Chaise ; Mesdames de Lavardin and De Mouri met him 
as they were coming here, in a very melancholy mood, in the 
Eue Saint Honore ; after passing an hour at the convent of 
the Jesuits, he repaired to the Bastile, and delivered to Barse- 
meaux* the order he brought from Saint Germain. He was 
at first shown into a tolerably handsome chamber. Madame de 
Meckelbourgf came there to visit him, and was almost drowned 
in tears. About an hour after she left him, an order came 
to confine him in one of those horrible places in the towers, 
of which the windows are closed with iron bars, so as scarcely 
to admit the light of day, and to suffer no one to see him. 
This, my child, is ample subject for reflection ; think of the 
brilliant fortune of such a man, raised to the honor of com- 
manding in chief the king's armies, and then figure to your 
self what his feelings must be on hearing those grating bolts 
shut upon him, and, if it were possible for him to sleep, what 
his thoughts must be when he awakes ! No one thinks there 
has been any poison in his affair. This is a misfortune that 
seems to obliterate every other. 

Madame de Tingres is summoned to give evidence on the 

ject." He required an explanation. It alluded to a recipe to increase 
the size of the bosom. She informed La Yoisin that her drug was 
ineffectual . 

It may be supposed that La Yoisin had many of these secrets for the 
use of ladies. * 

* Governor of the Bastile. 

f Sister of M. de Luxembourg, formerly Madame de Chatillon. 



186 LETTERS TO 

trial. The Countess de Soissons could not endure the thoughts 
of a prison ; she has been allowed time to make her escape, if 
she really is guilty. She was playing at basset on the 
Wednesday when M. de Bouillon came in ; he begged her to 
step with him into the closet, where he told her she must either 
leave Fiance, or go to the Bastile ; she was not long in deter- 
mining what to do. She immediately called the Marchioness 
d' Allure from the card-table, and they have never appeared 
since. When the hour of supper came, they were told the 
Countess supped in town ; the whole company broke up, 
thinking something very extraordinary had happened. In the 
mean time, parcels are packed up, with money, jewels, etc., 
the male servants have gray liveries, and eight horses are put 
to the carriage. She made the Marchioness d' Allure, who they 
say was unwilling to go, sit behind, on the same side with her, 
and two female servants in the front. She told her people 
not to be uneasy on her account, that she was innocent, but 
that some vile women* had taken pleasure in implicating her ; 
she wept, called on Madame de Carignan, and left Paris at 
three in the morning. It is said she is gone to Namur; you 
may be sure nobody wants to follow her. She will, notwith- 
standing, be tried in her absence, if it be only to clear her 
reputation to the world ; there is a great deal of detraction in 
what La Voisin says. It is believed the Duke de Villeroyf is 
very much concerned at it ; he keeps his room, and sees no- 
body. Perhaps I may be able to tell you more before I seal 
my letter. 

Madame de Vibraye has fallen into the old train of devo- 
tion ; God, as you well remarked, would not suffer her to pass 
her whole life in the company of her enemies. Madame de 
Buri turns her talking-mill with very great address. If the 
princess is to be seen at Paris, Madame de Vins wishes me to 

* La Yoisin and her associates in their witchcrafts, etc. 
f Francis Neuville, afterward Marshal of France. He had been the 
lover, and was the intimate friend, of the Countess de Soissons. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 187 

accompany her when she goes there. Pomenars has been cut 
for the stone ; did I not tell you so ? I have seen him ; it is 
pleasant to hear him talk of the poisons ; one is almost tempted 
to say to him, " Is it possible this crime alone should be un- 
known to you ?" Volonne gives his opinion, without any hesi- 
tation, and wonders how any one could hold a correspondence 
with these vile women. The Queen of Spain is, in a manner, as 
much confined as M. de Luxembourg. Madame de Villars 
wrote to Madame de Coulanges the other day, that were it not 
for her love to M. de Villars, she would not have consented to 
pass the winter at Madrid. She gives Madame de Coulanges 
many pleasant and entertaining narratives, as she thinks they 
will go further.* I am overjoyed to have the pleasure of pe- 
rusing her letters, without the trouble of answering them. 
Madame de Vins thinks as I do. M. de Pomponne is gone to 
breathe the air of Pomponne, where he means to stay three 
days ; he has received all, and given up all ; so that affair is 
finished. It really pains me to hear him always asking, "What 
news ? He is as much a stranger to what is passing as one 
living on the banks of the Marne ; he is in the right to make 
his mind as happy as he can. Mine, as well as the abbe's, 
was much affected at what you wrote with your own hand ; 
you did not feel it, my dear child, but it was impossible to 
read it without tears. Good heavens ! you pronounce your- 
self as good for nothing, as an encumbrance to the earth ; to 
one who sees no object in existence but you ! Think of the 
consequences your talking thus may produce. I beseech you, 
never henceforth to say any ill of your humor. Your heart 
and mind are too perfect to suffer such light clouds to be per- 
ceived ; be a little more tender of truth and justice, as well as 
of the sole object of my vows and prayers, I shall think my- 
self really dead till I have the gratification of seeing you. 

* Madame de Coulanges, passing her life at court, with Madame de 
Maintenon, and even with Mademoiselle de Fontanges, could easily re- 
port these agreeable narratives to the king. 



188 LETTERS TO 

LETTER LXXm. 

Paris, Wednesday, January 31, 1680. 

It is impossible for me to see your hand- writing without 
emotion. I well know the injury writing does you ; and 
though you say the most affectionate and most amiable things 
to me possible, I regret exceedingly the purchase of that pleas- 
ure at the expense of your lungs ; I know you are still far 
from well. You tell me the weather is extremely mild, and 
that you do not fatigue yourself, and that you write less than 
usual : whence, then, proceeds this obstinacy in your disorder ? 
You are dumb on that subject, and Montgobert has the cru- 
elty, though she has the pen in her hand, not to say a single 
word about it. What is the rest of the world to me, and 
what pleasure can I receive from the account of all the re- 
joicings at Aix, when I find you are obliged to go to bed at 
eight in the evening ? " But," say you, " do you then wish 
me to sit up late and fatigue myself ?" No, my dearest ; God 
forbid I should be capable of forming so depraved a wish ; 
but when you were here, you were not wholly incapable of 
relishing the sweets of society. I have at length seen M. de 
Gordes ; he told me, with great sincerity, that you were in a 
very feeble state in the boat, and that you were much better 
at Aix : but then, with the same simplicity he assures me, 
that the air of Provence is too keen, too piercing, and too dry- 
ing, in your present condition. When we are in health, nothing 
is amiss ; but when the lungs are attacked, and we are thin and 
delicate, like you, we run the risk of putting it out of our 
power ever to recover. Tell me no more that the delicacy of 
your lungs draws our ages nearer together. God forbid that 
the order established by Providence, so agreeable to nature 
and reason, and at the same time so dear to me, should be de- 
ranged with respect to us. 

I must resume the article of news, which I always suffer to 
rest awhile when I get upon the subject of your health. M. 
de Luxembourg has been two days without eating ; he asked 



MADAME DE GRI&NAN, 189 

for several Jesuits, but has been refused every one of them : 
he asked to have the Lives of the Saints, and it has been given 
him ; you will see he is at a loss to which of the Saints he 
shall devote himself. He was interrogated for four hours on 
Friday or Saturday, I can not recollect which ; after that his 
mind appeared much relieved, and he ate some supper. It is 
thought he would have done better to have made his inno- 
cence take the field, and to have left word he would return, 
when his proper judges* should think fit to summon him. He 
has done a real injury to the dukedom, in acknowledgmg the 
chamber ; but he was willing to yield a blind obedience to the 
commands of his majesty. M. de Cessac has followed the ex- 
ample of the countess. Mesdames de Bouillon and De Tingry 
were interrogated on Monday at the chamber of the arsenal. 
Their noble families attended them to the gate : there is yet 
no appearance of blackness in the follies which have been laid 
to their charge, nor even so much as a shade of gray. Should 
nothing further be discovered, this is a scandal which might 
very well have been spared, especially to families of their 
high quality. Marshal de Villeroyf says, these gentlemen 
and ladies do not believe in God, though they believe in the 
devil. In reality, a great many ridiculous things are related 
respecting the private transactions of these abominable wo- 
men. Madame de la Ferte, who is so properly named, went 
out of complaisance (to La Voisin's) with the Countess (de 
Soissons), but did not go up stairs ; M. de Langres accompa- 
nied Madame de la Ferte ; this is very black ; the circum- 
stance has given her a pleasure not often enjoyed by her, 
which is, to hear it said that she is innocent.J The Duchess 
de Bouillon went to ask La Voisin for a small dose of poison, 
to kill an old tiresome husband she had, and a nostrum to 

* The parliament of Paris. 

f Nicholas de Neufville, Marshal Duke de Yilleroy, father to the last 
marshal of that name. 

X The Amours des Gaules have rendered notorious her gallantries, 
which may be called by a term less mild. 



190 LETTERS TO 

marry a young man she loved. This young man was M. de 
Vendome, who led her by one hand, and M. de Bouillon, her 
husband, by the other. When a Mancine* is guilty only of 
a folly like this, information is given of it ; and these witches 
explain it seriously, and shock all Europe with a mere trifle. 
The Countess de Soissons asked whether she could not recover a 
lover who had deserted her ? this lover was a great prince ; 
and it is asserted that she declared, unless he returned to her, 
she would make him repent his ingratitude : that is under- 
stood to be the king, and every thing is of importance that 
has relation to him ; but let us look to the sequel ; if she has 
committed any greater crime, she has not mentioned it to 
these baggages. One of our friends says there is an elder 
branch of the poison, to which they never refer, as it is not a 
native of France. What we have here, are younger branches 
only, without shoes to their feet. La T*** f gives us to un- 
derstand there is something of greater consequence behind, 
as she was schoolmistress to the novices. She says, " I ad- 
mire the world ; it really believes I have had children by M. 
de Luxembourg." Alas ! God knows whether she has or not ; 
the present prevailing opinion, however, is in favor of the in- 
nocence of the persons denounced, and a universal horror for 
the defamers ; to-morrow it may be the reverse. You well 
know the nature of these general opinions ; I shall give you a 
faithful account of them ; it is the only subject of conversa- 
tion here : indeed there is scarcely an example of such scan- 
dal in any court in Christendom. It is said La Voisin put all 
the infants, whose abortion she had procured, into an oven • 
and Madame de Coulanges, as you may suppose, when speak- 
ing of La T***, says, it was for her the oven was heating. 
I had a long chat yesterday with M. de la Eochefoucault, 

* Madame de Bouillon, as well as the Countess de Soissons, was the 
niece of Cardinal Mazarin. It will be seen that she was innocent. 

f Madame de Tingry being named twice in this letter and the pre- 
ceding one, is it not probable that she is intended by the initial T. ? 
She was related to M. de Luxembourg. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 191 

on a subject we have already discussed. There is nothing to 
oblige you to write ; but he entreats you to believe that what 
could give him the highest gratification in the world would 
be to have it in his power to contribute to your changing 
the place of your residence, should an opportunity offer. I 
never saw so obliging or so amiable a man. 

What I am going to tell you, I have heard from good au- 
thority. Madame de Bouillon entered the chamber like a 
queen, sat down on a chair placed there on purpose for her, 
and, instead of answering to the first question that was asked 
her, demanded that what she should say might be taken down 
in writing ; it was, "that her sole reason for coming there was 
from the respect she bore to the king's command, and not in 
obedience to the chamber, whose authority she in nowise 
acknowledged, as she would not derogate from the privileges 
of the dukedom." Every word was written down. When she 
took oft* her glove, she discovered a very beautiful hand. Her 
answers were very sincere ; those respecting her age not ex- 
cepted. " Do you know La Vigoureux ?" " ISTo." " Do you 
know La Voisin ?" " Yes." u What reason had you to de- 
sire the death of your husband ?" " Desire the death of my 
husband ! ask him whether he believes a syllable of it. He 
gave me his hand to the very gate." " But what was your 
reason for so often visiting La Voisin ?" " Because I wanted 
to see those Sibyls she promised me I should see ; a company 
which certainly well deserved all this noise and scrutiny." 
" Did you not show that woman a bag of money ?" She an- 
swered, " I did not, and for more reasons than one ;" and then 
with a smiling, and at the same time a disdainful air, " Well, 
gentlemen, have you done with me ?" " Yes, madame." She 
rose, and, as she was going out, said loud enough to be heard? 
u I really could not have believed that men of sense would 
have asked so many foolish questions." She was received by 
all her friends and relations with adoration, she was so pretty, 
easy, natural, firm, unconcerned, and tranquil.* 

* To render this picture complete, it is necessary to cite another 



192 LETTERS TO 

La T*** was by no means so cheerful. M. de Luxembourg 
is perfectly disconcerted : he is neither a man, nor half a man, 
nor even a woman, unless it be a foolish woman. " Shut this 
window ; light a fire ; give me some chocolate ; give me that 
book ; I have abandoned God, and God has abandoned me." 
This is the conduct he displayed before Baisemeaux and his 
commissaries, with a countenance pale as death. With noth- 
ing better than this to carry to the Bastile, he had better have 
gained time, as the king, with infinite goodness, had put into 
his power to do, till the very moment before he committed 
himself; but we must of necessity have recourse to Providence, 
in spite of our efforts to the contrary. It was by no means 
natural to behave as he has done, weak as he appears to be.* 
I was misinformed : Madame de Meckelbourg has not seen 
him ; and La T***, who came with him from St. Germain, 
never intended, any more than himself, to give Madame de 
Meckelbourg the least notice of it, though he had time enough 
to have done it if he had been so inclined ; but La T*** kept 
every one from seeing him, and watched him so closely, that 
not a soul came to him but herself. I have been to see this 
Meckelbourg at the nunnery of the Holy Sacrament, where she 
has retired. She is in great affliction, and complains loudly 
of La T***, whom she blames for all her brother's misfor- 
tunes. I made your compliments to her by way of anticipation, 
and assured her you would be extremely grieved to hear of 

stroke related by Yoltaire. " La Reynie, one of the presidents of this 
chamber, was so ill-advised as to ask the Duchess de Bouillon if she 
had seen the devil. She replied that she saw him at that moment ; 
that he was very ugly, and very dirty, and was disguised as a coun- 
selor of state. The questioner proceeded no further. 

* Madame de Sevigne seems to have adopted, at this moment, the 
ridiculous reports spread abroad, in regard to M. de Luxembourg. But 
is it to be credited that a soul like his was capable of such weakness 
as was laid to his charge ? And does it not rather exhibit the common 
conduct of envy and malignity, which, in the life-time of men of the 
first order, are incessantly endeavoring to tarnish the luster of their 
reputation ? 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 193 

her ill-fortune. She expressed great regard for you. One 
might, at this time, do almost what one pleased at Paris, it 
would not be noticed. 



LETTER LXXIV. 

Paris, Wednesday, February T, 1680. 

So, my child, you sometimes play at chess. For my own part, 
I am an enthusiast in this game, and would give the world if 
I could learn to play it like my son or you. It is the finest 
and most rational game of any ; chance has nothing to do with 
it ; we blame or applaud ourselves, and our success depends 
upon our skill. Corbinelli would fain make me believe I shall 
acquire it. He says I have some ideas and schemes of my 
own ; but I can not see three or four moves forward into the 
game. I assure you I shall be much ashamed and mortified 
if I do not, at least, attain mediocrity. Every one played it at 
Pomponne when I was last there — men, women, and children ; 
and while the master of the house was beating M. de Chaulnes, 
he met with a strange check at St. Germain. 

There has been a sad melancholy Monday, which you will 
easily comprehend. M. de Pomponne is at length gone to 
court. He dreaded this very much. You may guess what 
his thoughts were on the" road, and when he beheld the court 
at Saint Germain, and received the compliments of the court- 
iers who surrounded him. He was quite overcome ; and 
when he entered the chamber where the king was waiting for 
him, what could he say, or how begin ? The king assured 
him he had always been satisfied of his fidelity and services ; 
that he was perfectly at ease as to the state secrets he was ac- 
quainted with ; and that he would give him and his family 
proofs of his regard. M. de Pomponne could not help shed- 
ding tears when he mentioned the misfortune he had to incur 
his displeasure. He added, that with respect to his family, he 

left it entirely to his majesty's goodness ; that his only grief 

9 



194 LETTERS TO 

was the being removed from the service of a master to whom 
he was attached, as well by inclination as duty ; that it was 
next to impossible not to feel so heavy a loss in all its severity ; 
that this cut him to the quick, and caused him to betray those 
marks of weakness, which he hoped his majesty would forgive. 
The king told him he was himself affected at them, that they 
proceeded from goodness of heart, and that he ought not to 
be offended. The whole discourse turned on this, and M. de 
Pomponne came away with eyes somewhat red, and the looks 
of a man who had not merited his misfortune. He told me 
all this yesterday evening : he could have wished to have been 
more firm, but he could not get the better of his emotion. 
This is the only occasion in which he has appeared too much 
affected ; though it might be said he had not paid his court 
badly, if to pay court had been his object. He will soon re- 
cover his philosophy, and in the mean time an affair of some 
importance is concluded ; these are renewals which we can not 
help feeling with him. Madame de Vins has been at Saint 
Germain : good God, what a difference ! She had attentions 
enough paid her ; but to reflect that that had been her home, 
where she has not now a corner to shelter her head in ! I felt 
what she underwent in that journey. Adieu, my beloved 
child ; I am always impatient to hear from you, but pray write 
only two words to me ; renounce long letters forever, and 
spare me. It is horrible to think that those who love you, and 
who are beloved by you, should be the ruin of your health. 



LETTER LXXV. 

Paris, Friday, Feb. 9, 1680. 
I see you are in the midst of the pleasures of the carnival, 
my beautiful dear ; you give little private suppers to eighteen 
or twenty ladies ; I am well acquainted with your mode of 
life, and the heavy expenses you incur at Aix ; but yet, amid 
all this bustle, I fancy you contrive to have plenty of rest. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 195 

We say sometimes, I will have pleasure for my money ; but I 
think I hear you say, I will have rest for mine : take your rest 
then, and enjoy, at least, this advantage. I can not help being 
surprised that a minuet-tune does not tempt you sometimes ; 
what ! not a single step ! no motion of the shoulders ! quite 
insensible ! it is not to be believed, it is unnatural ; I never 
yet knew you sit still on these occasions, and, were I to draw 
such inferences as I commonly do, I should imagine you much 
worse than you say you are. 

There was, yesterday evening, an enchanting entertainment 
at the Hotel de Conde. The Princess of Conti named one of 
the duke's daughters, with the Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon. 
First was the christening, then the dinner ; but what a dinner ! 
then a play, but what a play ! interspersed with fine pieces of 
music, and the best opera-dancers. A theater built by the 
fairies ; such perspectives, orange-trees loaded with fruits and 
flowers, festoons, pilasters, scenes, and other decorations ; in 
short, the whole expense of the evening cost no less than two 
thousand louis-d'ors, all for the sake of the pretty princess. 

The opera (of Proserpine) is superior to every other. The 
chevalier tells me he has sent you several of the airs, and that 
he saw a gentleman* who said he had sent you the words ; I 
dare say you will like it. There is a scene in it,f between 
Mercury and Ceres, which requires no interpreter to be under- 
stood ; it must have been approved, since it has been per- 
formed ; but you will judge for yourself. 

The poisoning affair is grown quite flat ; nothing new is said 
of it. The report is, that there will be no more blood spilled ; 
you will make your own reflections, as we do. The Abbe 
Colbert is made Coadjutor of Rouen. They talk of a jour- 
ney into Flanders. No one knows what this assembling of 
the forces portends. 

Friar Ange has raised Marshal de Bellefond from the dead; 
he has cured his lungs, that were incurable. Madame do 

* Quinault. f See the second scene of tl e first act. 



196 LETTERS TO 

Coulanges and I have been to visit the grand-master,* who 
has been almost at death's door for a fortnight past ; his gout 
had returned ; add to this an oppression, which made every 
one suppose he was at his last gasp ; cold sweats, lighthead- 
edness ; in short, he was ill as it was possible to be. The 
physicians could give him no relief ; he sent for Friar Ange, 
who has cured him, and brought him from the very gates of 
death, by the gentlest and most agreeable medicines ; the op* 
pression went off, the gout fell back into his knees and feet, 
and he is now out of danger. 

Adieu, my dear child ! I still lead the same life, either in 
the suburbs, or with these good widows ; sometimes here, 
sometimes eating chicken with Madame de Coulanges; but 
always pleased to think I am gliding down the stream with 
old Time, and hastening the happy moment when I shall see 
you again. 



LETTER LXXVI. 



Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 1680. 

I think you extremely fortunate in the society of Madame 
du Janet, who is come on purpose for you ; this is a friend- 
ship that pleases me. I am fully persuaded her whole employ- 
ment will be to take care of your health ; pray embrace her for 
me. You give yourself very little concern about the vanities 
of this world ; I think I see you constantly retiring and going 
to bed, leaving the rest to sing and dance by themselves ; you 
will have rest for your money, as I told you the other day. 

Montgobert has related to me, very pleasantly, the maneu- 
vers of the beautiful Iris, and the jealousy of the count ; I dare 
say he will often see the moon with this beauty ; he has re- 
venged himself for this time, by a very pretty song. Montgo- 
bert made me laugh at her respect for M. de Grignan. She 
had written, that he came to the ball la gueule enfarinee (full 

* The Duke de Lude. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 197 

of expectation) : she recollected herself, erased the gueule, and 
wrote the bouche, so that it is now la bouche enfarinee. 

The gendarmes are quite bewildered. My son goes to Flan- 
ders, instead of meeting the dauphiness. The army is assem- 
bling, they say, to take Charlemont.* We know nothing cer- 
tain, except that the officers are going to the army, and that 
in a month there will be an army of fifty thousand infantry. 
The chevalier's regiment is not one of them. 

The chamber of the arsenal is again sitting. One of the 
committee, whose name is not mentioned, said to M. de la 
Reynie : u But, sir, as far as I see, we are only employed about 
sorceries and witchcraft, such diabolical proceedings, of which 
the parliament of Paris never takes cognizance. Our com- 
mission is, to try the case of poisoning ; how comes it that we 
inquire into any thing else ?" La Reynie was surprised, and 
said, " Sir, we have secret orders." " Be so good, sir," replied 
the other, "as to communicate those orders to us, and we will 
obey them as well as you ; but, as we are without your knowl- 
edge, I think I say nothing contrary to reason and justice, in 
thus expressing myself." I am of opinion you will not blame 
this man's honesty, though he does not wish to be known. 
There are so many, persons of worth belonging to this cham- 
ber, that you will find it difficult to guess who he is. 

* One of the conditions of the treaty with Spain was, that France, 
with other places that were given up to her, should have either Dinanl 
or Charlemont. But the emperor, whose consent was necessary, hav- 
ing preferred keeping Dinant, France was put in possession of Charle- 
mont. There was only a military demonstration. It was upon this 
acquisition of Charlemont, M. de Coulanges wrote some verses ending 

with, 

Louis est un enfant gate ; 

On lui laisse tout faire. 

" Louis is a spoiled child ; he is suffered to do what he pleases." 

This complaisance throughout Europe cost dear to France. The 
king, habituated thus to have his own way, adopted three fatal resolu- 
tions : he revoked the Edict of Nantes, protected James II., and ac- 
cepted the testament of the King of Spain. 



198 LETTERS TO 

The little Prince de Leon was baptized yesterday at Saint 
Gervais, by a bishop of Brittany ; M. de Rennes stood god- 
father, as representing the States of Brittany ; the duchess was 
godmother. The rest were all Brittany folks : the Governor 
of Brittany, the Lieutenant-General of Brittany, the Treasurer 
of Brittany, the Deputies of Brittany, several Lords of Brit- 
tany, the Presidents of Brittany, father and son. In short, 
had there been a dance, they would have danced Brittany 
dances ; and have eaten Brittany butter, had it been a meager 
day. I assure you, my son feels all the secret power which 
attaches the Bretons to their country ; he is returned perfectly 
enchanted with it. He has begun, for the first time in his 
life, to admire Tonquedec, and to think him worthy of imita- 
tion. It would be like stopping the course of the Rhone, to 
oppose this torrent, which carries him so far as even to dis- 
pose him to sell his place. He said this to Gourville and 
several others, before he mentioned it to me. He assigns very 
good reasons. He looks forward. He fears the disgusts which 
may be occasioned by means of M. de la Trousse. He is sorry 
for those who are appointed to the gendarmerie, and has no 
wish to be ruined. The sum of the matter is, that by thus 
discovering his inmost heart, he would reduce us to the ne- 
cessity of saying, " Certainly, he is perfectly in the right to sell 
his place." I can not reproach myself with concealing what 
my duty obliged me to say on this strange resolution, in which 
I expressed myself with the freedom I sometimes indulge my- 
self in. I desired him to wait for at least some pretext, some 
shadow of dissatisfaction ; in short, to stay for something that 
may serve to keep his real thoughts undiscovered. But it was 
to no purpose ; for all M. de la Garde and I have been able to 
do, is to beg he will not interfere. We are overjoyed at his 
absence, as it may be a means of preventing his doing injury 
to his affairs, by decrying his own goods. I told him it was 
very unfortunate to value commissions merely from whim and 
caprice, by his liking and disliking ; to pay an exorbitant price 
for the ensigncy, because he was wild for it — to rate the sub- 



MADAME DE 6RIGNAN 199 

lieutenancy at nothing, because he is disgusted with it. Is it 
thus we would buy and sell, unless we were fools, ignorant of 
business, and wished to ruin ourselves ? Adieu, my beloved 
child ; be not uneasy on this account. Let us adore the dis- 
pensations of Providence, whose kindness sends us no greater 
subject of complaint. I shall still possess my mind in liberty, 
for I shall still be as much yours as ever. This will make no 
change in me ; quite the contrary, quite the contrary. 



LETTER LXXVII. 



Paris, Friday, February 23, 1680. 
Indeed, my child, this has been a very pretty week for the 
Grignans ; should Providence favor the elder brother in pro- 
portion as it has the younger, we might soon expect to see 
him in a charming situation. In the mean time, I think it no 
disagreeable thing to have brothers in such favor. The 
chevalier had scarcely returned thanks for his pension of a 
thousand crowns, when he was chosen, out of eight or ten per- 
sons of quality and merit, to be an attendant upon the 
dauphin, with a salary of two thousand crowns ; so here are 
appointments to the value of nine thousand livres a year, in 
the space of three days. He immediately went back to Saint 
Germain with his second acknowledgments, for it seems he 
had been appointed in his absence, while he was here in Paris. 
His personal merit has greatly contributed to this choice. 
His distinguished reputation, his strict honor and probity, and 
the regularity of his conduct, have been remarked ; and it is 
the general opinion, that his majesty could not have made a 
better choice. There are but eight persons named yet, Dan- 
geau, D'Antin, Clermont, Sainte-Maure, Matignon, Chiverni, 
Florensac, and Grignan.* The last is universally approved. 

* These were afterward reduced to six, viz., MM. Dangeau, D'An- 
tin, Saint-Maure, Chiverni, Florensac, and G-rignan. 



200 LETTERS TO 

Permit me, then, to pay my compliments of congratulation to 
M. de Grignan, the coadjutor, and yourself. 

My son sets out to-morrow ; he has read the reproaches 
you make him. Possibly the charms of the court he wishes 
to leave, and where he has so handsome an establishment, 
will make him change his opinion. We have prevailed on 
him not to be in a hurry, but to wait quietly till he meets 
with the temptation of a greater sum than he gave. 

You have given me a specimen of M. de Grignan's joy by 
my own, in hearing that you are better. As your complaints 
are no longer continual, I am in great hopes that, by taking 
care of yourself, using a milk diet, and giving up writing, you 
will in the end restore my daughter to me as lovely as ever. 

I am charmed with Montgobert's sincerity. Had she al- 
ways written me word you were well, I should never have 
given credit to her. She has managed the whole business to 
a miracle, and has won my heart by her candor ; so natural 
is it for us to love not to be deceived. May Heaven preserve 
you, my dear, in this prosperous state ! which gives us all 
such flattering hopes. But to return to the Grignans, for we 
seem to have forgotten them. Nothing else is talked of here. 
Nothing but complimenting passes in this house ; one has 
scarcely done when another begins. I have not seen either 
of them since the chevalier has been made a lady of honor, as 
M. de Rochefoucault calls it. He will write you all the news 
much better than I can possibly do. It is supposed that Ma- 
dame de Soubise will not be one of the traveling party. See 
how long my letter is growing ! Well, I will only mention 
La Voi sin's affair, and conclude. 

She was not burned on Wednesday, as I wrote you word ; 
the sentence was not executed till yesterday. She knew her 
fate on the Monday, a very extraordinary circumstance ! In 
the evening, she said to those who guarded her, " What ! no 
medianoches !" She ate with them at midnight out of whim, 
for it was no fast-day, drank plentifully of wine, and sang sev- 
eral drinking songs. On Monday she received the question 



MADAME DE GRI6NAN. 201 

ordinary and extraordinary. She had now dined, and slept 
nearly eight hours. She was confronted while under the tor- 
ture with Mesdames de Dreux and Le Feron, and several more. 
Her answers have not yet transpired, but every one expects io 
hear strange things. She supped in the evening, and, lacerated 
and disjointed as she was, gave a loose to her excess, to the 
disgust of every one present. They endeavored to make her 
sensible of her ill conduct, and that she would be much better 
employed in thinking of God, and singing devout hymns, than 
such songs ; upon which she sang a psalm or two in mockery, 
and then fell asleep. Wednesday was spent in the like con- 
fronting, drinking, and singing ; she absolutely refused to let a 
confessor come near her. In short, on the Thursday, that is, 
yesterday, they denied her all kinds of food, excepting only a 
little broth, of which she complained greatly, seeming to be 
apprehensive that she should not have strength to carry her 
through the business of the day. 

She came from Vincennes to Paris in a coach ; she seemed 
embarrassed, and as if she wished to conceal what she felt. 
They would have had her confess, but she would not hear of 
it. At five o'clock she was bound and set on the sledge, 
dressed in white, with a taper in her hand. She was extremely 
red in the face, and was seen to push away the confessor and 
the crucifix with great violence. Madame de Chaulnes, Madame 
de Sully, the Countess (De Fiesque), myself, and several others, 
saw her pass by the Hotel de Sully. When she came to the 
Church of Notre-Dame, she refused to pronounce the amende- 
honorable ; and at the Greve, she struggled with all her might 
to prevent their taking her out of the sledge ; she was, how- 
ever, dragged out by main force, and made to sit down on the 
pile, to which she was bound by iron chains, and then covered 
over with straw. She swore prodigiously, and pushed away 
the straw five or six times : but at length the fire increased, 
she sunk out of sight, and her ashes are by this time floating 
in the air. This is the end of Madame Voisin, celebrated for 

her crimes and her impiety. One of the ju'ges, to whom my 

9* 



202 LETTERS TO 

son happened to mention his surprise at persons being burned 
alive in a slow fire, made answer : " My dear sir, there are 
some indulgences granted to the women in favor of their sex." 
" How, pray sir ? are they strangled ?" " No, sir ; they are 
covered with faggots, and the executioner tears off their heads 
with iron hooks." So you see, my child, this is not so dread- 
ful as we have been told it was. How do you find yourself 
after this little story ? It made my blood run cold in my 
veins. 



LETTER LXXVIII. 



Paris, Friday, March 15, 1680. 
I am much afraid we shall lose M. de la Rochefoucault. His 
fever still continues. He received the sacrament yesterday. 
The tranquillity of his mind is really worthy of admiration. 
He has settled all affairs of conscience, and his disorder and 
the prospect of approaching dissolution give him no concern ; 
you would think it was his neighbor at the point of death. 
He hears the physicians dispute without being the least affected 
by it, and the contentions of the Englishman and Friar Ange, 
without saying a word. I return to this verse : 

Trop au-dessus de lui, pour y prater l'esprit.* 

He would not see Madame de la Fayette yesterday, on account 
of her tears, and because he was to receive the sacrament ; but 
he sent about noon to know how she was. Believe me, my 
child, he has not passed his life in making useless reflections : 
he has rendered death so familiar that the prospect is neither 
new nor terrific to him. M. de Marsillac arrived the day be- 
fore yesterday, at midnight, so overwhelmed with grief, that I 
do not think even you could feel more for me. It was a long 
time before he could compose himself; at length he came in, 
when he found M. de Rochefoucault sitting in his chair, with 

* Too superior to himself to pay any attention to it. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 203 

an air very little different from that he usually wore. As M. 
de Marsillac is the only one of his children who may be said 
to enjoy his friendship, it was thought he would be himself 
affected at seeing him ; but of this, however, there was not the 
smallest appearance, and he even did not name his illness to 
him. His son, unable to contain himself any longer, withdrew 
to give vent to his grief; when, after a great deal of alterca- 
tion, Gourville being against, and Langlade for the Englishman, 
each of them supported by different parties in the family, and 
the two Esculapian chiefs keeping up all the warmth of their 
natural animosity, M. de Marsillac decided in favor of the 
Englishman ; and yesterday, at four in the afternoon, M. de la 
Rochefoucault took his medicines, and at eight repeated them 
again. As there is no getting admittance at present, it is 
difficult to learn the truth ; however, I have been told that 
after having been last night within an instant of giving up the 
ghost through the struggle between the medicine and the 
gouty humor, he had so considerable an evacuation that 
though the fever has not yet abated, there is reason to hope 
for a favorable issue. I am convinced in my own mind that 
he will recover, though M. de Marsillac does not yet venture 
to admit a ray of hope. I can compare him, in his affections 
and grief, to no one but yourself, my dear child, who can not 
bear the thoughts of my death. You may well believe that I 
shall not give him M. de Grignan's letter at present : it shall 
go, however, with those that may come afterward ; for I am 
convinced, with Langlade, from whom I learned all I tell 
you, that the remedy given will complete the cure. 

I want to know how you are, after your journey to Mar- 
seilles ; I must chide M. de Grignan for taking you with him ; 
I can not approve of such useless jaunts. Must not you also 
show Toulon, Hieres, Saint Baume, Saint Maximin, and the 
Fountain of Vaucluse, to the Mademoiselles de Grignan ? 

I am almost constantly with Madame de la Fayette, who 
must be totally insensible to the charms of friendship, and the 
affections of the heart, were she less afflicted than she is. I 



204 LETTERS TO 

close this packet at her house, at nine in the evening ; she has 
read your little note ; for, in spite of her fears, she has hope 
enough to be able to read it. M. de la Rochefoucault is still 
the same ; his legs begin to swell, which the Englishman does 
not like ; he seems certain, however, that his medicines will 
have the desired effect. If this be true, I shall admire the 
great humanity of the physician in not tearing him piecemeal, 
for this will be the ruin of them all ; to take the fever out of 
their hands, is to take the bread out of their mouths. Du 
Chene is very easy about the matter, but all the others are 
stark mad. 



LETTER LXXIX. 

Paris, Sunday, March IT, 1680. 

Though this letter will not go till Wednesday, I can not 
help beginning it to-day, to inform you that M. de la Roche- 
foucault died last night. I am so much engrossed with this 
misfortune, and with the extreme affliction of our poor friend * 
that I must relieve my mind by communicating the painful 
event to you. 

Yesterday, which was Saturday, the Englishman's medicine 
had done wonders ; all the favorable symptoms of Friday, 
which I mentioned to you, were increased ; his friends began 
to sing Te Deum in their hearts ; his lungs were clear, his 
head free, his fever less, his evacuations such as indicated a 
salutary crisis : in this state yesterday, at six o'clock in the 
evening, he relapsed, so as to leave no hopes of recovery ; his 
fever redoubled in an instant, with an oppression of the chest 
and delirium ; in a word, he was suffocated by the treacher- 
ous gout, and, notwithstanding he had a great degree of 
strength left even after all his bleeding, it carried him off in 
less than five hours, so that he expired at midnight in the 
arms of the Bishop of Condom. M. de Marsillac did not 

* Madame de la Fayette. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 205 

leave him a moment ; he is under inexpressible affliction : he 
will find, however, some consolation in the king and the court; 
and so will the rest of the family, from the place he enjoys : 
but when will poor Madame de la Fayette find again such a 
friend, such a companion, such kindness, such attention, such 
confidence, and such consideration for her and her son ! She 
is infirm, confined to her room, and not like other people eter- 
nally from home. M. de Rochefoucault was also of a seden- 
tary disposition ; their situation rendered them necessary to 
each other; so that the mutual confidence and delightful 
friendship that subsisted between them was unequaled. Think, 
of this, my child, and you will be convinced with me that no 
one could sustain a greater loss, for this is not to be repaired 
or obliterated even by time. I have never once quitted this 
disconsolate friend ; she did not mix in the hurry and confu- 
sion of the family, so that she really stood in need of some 
pity. Madame de Coulanges has likewise acquitted herself 
very well on this occasion, and we shall continue to discharge 
our duty even at the hazard of our eyes, which are almost 
always filled with tears. You see how unluckily your letters 
came ; they have hitherto had no admirers but Madame de 
Coulanges and myself; when the chevalier returns he may 
possibly find a proper season for presenting them ; meantime 
you must write one out of condolence to M. de Marsillac ; he 
does honor to filial affection, and is a living proof that you 
are not alone in this respect ; but, in fact, I doubt that either 
of you will meet with many imitators. The melancholy that 
reigns around me has awakened all my sensibility, and makes 
me feel the anguish of separation in all its horrors. 



LETTER LXXX. Uf 

Paris, Wednesday, April 3, 1680. 

My dear child, poor M. Fouquet is dead,* and I am affected 
at the intelligence : I never knew so many friends lost in a 

* Gourville affirms, in his Memoirs, that he was liberated before his 



206 LETTERS TO 

manner at once, and it overwhelms me with sorrow to see so 
many dead around me ; but what is not around me pierces my 
heart, and that is the apprehension I suffer from the return of 
yo lr former disorders ; for though you would conceal it from 
me, I can perceive your flushings, your heaviness, and short- 
ness of breath. In short, that flattering interval is now over, 
and what was thought a cure has turned out a mere pallia- 
tive. I remember your words : that a flame half-quenched is 
easily revived. The remedies you treasure up against an evil 
day, and which you reckon infallible, ought to be used imme- 
diately. Has M. de Grignan no authority on this occasion ? Is 
he not alarmed at your situation ? I have seen young Beau- 
mont ; I leave you to guess whether I asked him any ques- 
tions. When I recollected that he had seen you within a 
week, he appeared to me the most desirable companion in the 
world. He said you were not quite so well when he set out 
as you had been during the winter. He mentioned your sup- 
per and entertainment, which he praised highly ; as also the 
kind attentions both of you and of M. de Grignan, and the 
care M. de Grignan's daughters took that you might not be 
missed when you retired to rest. He said wonders of Pauline 
and the little marquis ; I should never have been the first to 
put an end to the conversation, but he wanted to go to St. 
Germain ; for, as he said, he had paid me the first visit, even 
before that which he owed to the king his master. His grand- 
father had the same place which Marshal de Bellefond has 
had :* he was a very intimate friend of my father's ; and in- 
stead of seeking out for relations, as is generally the custom, my 
father chose him, without further ceremony, to stand sponsor 
to his daughter; so that he is my godfatha I am per- 
fectly acquainted with all the family. I think the grandson 
handsome, extremely handsome. You did well to say nothing 

death, and Voltaire believed it, from the account of his daughter-in- 
law, Madame de Yaux. But Madame de Sevigne believed he died at 
Pignerol, and so did the public. Mademoiselle de Montpensier con- 
firms the general opinion. * * Of steward of the household. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 207 

to him about your brother : I have myself mentioned it to 
no one, except to such persons as my son had previously in- 
formed of it, in order to find a purchaser. 

I conclude you must by this time be at Grignan. I see 
with affliction the bustle of taking leave ; I see, on your quit- 
ting your retirement, which appeared to you so short, a jour- 
ney to Aries; another fatigue; and I see your journey to 
Grignan, where you may possibly be saluted on your arrival 
by a northeast wind ; ah ! I can not behold all these things 
for a person so delicate as you are, and not tremble. 

You have sent me an account of Anfossi infinitely prefer- 
. able to all mine. I do not wonder you can not think of part- 
ing with an estate where there are so many diverting gipsies. 
There could not be a more agreeable or novel reception ; you 
are indeed so much a Stoic, and so full of reflections, that I 
should fear joining mine to yours, lest I should double the sor- 
row ; but I think it would be prudent and reasonable, and 
worthy of M. de Grignan's affection, to use his utmost endeav- 
ors to be here about the beginning of October. There is no 
other place where you can think of passing the winter. But 
I will say no more at present ; things urged prematurely lose 
all their force, and often create disgust. 

There are no more long journeys talked of here ; the only 
one spoken of is that to Fontainebleau. You will most assured- 
ly have M. de Vendome with you this year. For my part, I 
am preparing to set out for Brittany with inexpressible regret ; 
but I must go in order to be there, stay a little while, and 
return. After the loss of health, which I always, with reason, 
place first, nothing gives me so much vexation as the disorder 
of my private affairs. It is to this cruel reason I sacrifice my 
ease and gratification ; for I leave you to judge what a situa- 
ation I am likely to be in, with so much time and solitude on 
my hands, to add new force to my anxiety at being separated 
from you. This cup, however, I must swallow, bitter as it is, 
in hopes of seeing you at my return ; for all my movements 
tend to that point. And, however superior I may be to other 



208 LETTERS TO 

things, that is always superior to me ; it is my fate. And the 
sufferings which attend my affection for you, being offered to 
God, are a penance due for a love which I ought to bear for 
him alone. 

My son is just arrived from Douay, where he commanded 
the gendarmerie during March. M. de Pomponne has spent 
the day here ; he loves, honors, and esteems you perfectly. 
My being resident for you with Madame de Vins, occasions 
my being often with her ; and, indeed, I could not wish to be 
better any where. Poor Madame de la Fayette is now wholly 
at a loss how to dispose of herself; the loss of M. de la Roche- 
foucault has made so terrible a void in her life, as to render 
her a better judge of the value of so precious a friendship. 
Every one else will be comforted in time ; but she, alas ! has 
nothing to occupy her mind, whereas the rest will return to 
their several avocations. 

Mademoiselle de Scuderi is greatly afflicted with the death 
of M. Fouquet ; that life is at length terminated, which so many 
pains have been taken to preserve . His illness was convul- 
sions, and a constant retching, without being able to vomit. 
I depend on the chevalier for news, especially what relates to 
the dauphiness, whose court is composed exactly as you 
guessed ; your notions are very just. The king is often there, 
which keeps the crowd somewhat at a distance. Adieu, my 
dear, affectionate child ; I love you a thousand times more 
than I can express. 



LETTER LXXXI. 



Paris, Friday, April 12, 1680. 
You mention the dauphiness to me ; the chevalier can tell 
jrou more about her than I can. However, I think she does 
not seem to attach herself much to the queen. They have 
been to Versailles together, but on other days they generally 
make their separate parties. The king frequently visits the 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 209 

dauphiness in an afternoon, when he is sure not to be crowded 
She holds her circle from eight in the evening* till half after 
nine ; all the rest of the day she is alone, or with her ladies 
in waiting. The Princess of Conti almost always makes one 
of these private parties ; for, as she is yet but very young, she 
stands in need of such a pattern to form her conduct by. The 
dauphiness is a miracle of wit, understanding, and good edu- 
cation. She frequently mentions her mother with great af- 
fection ; and says, that she is indebted to her for all the pros- 
perity and happiness she enjoys, by the pains she bestowed on 
her. She learns music, singing, and dancing ; she reads, she 
works at her needle ; in short, she is a complete being. I 
must own that I had a great curiosity to see her. According- 
ly I went with Madame de Chaulnes and Madame de Carman ; 
she was at her toilet when we came in, and engaged in a con- 
versation in Italian with the Duke of Nevers. We were pre- 
sented to her, and she received us very politely. It is easy 
to perceive that, if a moment could be found of putting in a 
word opportunely, it would not be difficult to engage her in 
conversation. She is fond of Italian, of poetry, of new publi- 
cations, music, and dancing. You see that one need not be 
long dumb amid such a variety of topics for discourse ; but it 
requires time — she was going to mass. Neither Madame de 
Maintenon nor Madame de Richelieu was in her apartment. 

The court, my dear child, is by no means a place for me ; I 
am past the time of life to wish for any settlement there. If 
I were young I would take pleasure in rendering myself agree- 
able to this princess ; but what right have I to think of return- 
ing there ? You see what my views are. As for those of my 
son, they seem to have become more reasonable ; he will make 
a virtue of necessity, and keep his commission quietly. Indeed 
it is not an object for any one to give himself much trouble 
to gain, though Heaven knows it has cost us trouble enough ; 
but the truth is, that money is very scarce, and he sees plainly 
that he must not make a foolish bargain. So, my dear, we 
must even wait for what Providence shall bring forth. 



210 LETTERS TO 

Yesterday the Bishop of Autun pronounced the funeral ora- 
tion of Madame de Longueville,* at the church of the Carmel- 
ites, with all the powers and grace that man is capable of. 
Here was no Tartuffe,\ no hypocrite ; but a divine of rank, 
preaching with dignity, and giving an account of that prin- 
cess's life with all the elegance imaginable, passing lightly 
over the most delicate parts of it, and dwelling upon or omit- 
ting all that should or should not be said. His text was these 
words, " Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain ; but a woman 
that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised." He divided his 
oration into two parts, equally beautiful; he spoke of the 
charms of her person, and of the late wars, inimitably ; and I 
need not tell you, that the second part, which was taken up in 
giving an account of her exemplary penitence for the last 
twenty-seven years of her life, gave him an ample field to ex- 
patiate upon the virtues of her mind, and to place her in the 
bosom of her God.J He took occasion very naturally to praise 

* Anne Genevieve de Bourbon, daughter of Henry Bourbon, second 
of the name, Prince of Conde, who died the 15th of April, 1679. 

f It was imagined at that time, that the Bishop of Autun (G-abriel 
de Roquette) was the person whom Moliere had in view in the charac- 
ter of Tartuffe. 

We can not forbear adding an epigram of Boileau's upon him : 

On dit que l'Abbe Roquette 
Preche les sermons d'autrui ; 
Moi qui sais qu'il les achete, 
Je soutiens qu'il sont a lui. 

Which may be Englished by a parody on a well-known epigram in out 
language : 

The sermons that Roquette pronounces 

Are his ; — who 'd so have thought them ? 

He swears they 're his ; say not he bounces, 

For I know where he bought them ! 

\ To estimate the skillfulness of the panegyrist, it is proper to know 
the soil on which he labored. The life of Madame de Longueville pre- 
sented the Abbe Roquette with strange circuitous roads to measure, 
before he brought her to the way of salvation, whither he conducted 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 211 

the king ; and the prince was also compelled to digest a great 
many eulogiums ; but as delicately prepared, though in a dif- 
ferent manner, as those of Voiture. This hero was present, 
as were the duke, the Princess of Conti, and all the family, be- 
ides an infinite number of other persons; though, in my 
opinion, too few, for I think this respect was at least due to 
ihe prince, on occasion of an event he had not yet ceased to 
lament. You may perhaps ask me how I came there ? Ma- 
dame de Guenegaud offered the other day at M. de Chaulnes', 
to take me with her ; as it was not inconvenient to me, I was 
tempted to embrace the offer ; and I assure you I did not at 
all repent having done so. There were a great many women 
present, who had as little to do there as myself. Both the 
prince and the duke paid great attention to all who were 
there. 

I saw Madame de la Fayette as we were coming out of the 

her. She was one of the three ladies of whom Cardinal de Mazarin 
said to Don Louis de Haro : " We have three, among others, who cre- 
ate greater confusion than arose at the tower of Babel. " Like Madamo 
de Chevreuse and La Palatine, the part she took in the intrigues of the 
minority of Louis XIV. is notorious ; like them, she united the tri- 
umphs of beauty to the success of factions, and the love of business to 
the love of amours. Voiture represents her as already serious and po- 
litical, when, at an early age, she appeared at the Congress of Munster, 
where her husband presided over the French embassy. The Fronde 
began; her artifices and blandishments seduced the sage Turenne, 
when he came at the head of the Spaniards to give battle to the French. 
Beloved, not much in the style of a brother, by the Prince de Conti, 
she made him the chief of the Frondeurs, and general of the insurgents, 
thus opposing him to her other brother, the great Conde, who com- 
manded the army of the court. It was she who afterward dragged 
this hero into the civil war, and joined him to the Spaniards. She long 
wandered as a heroine, or as Cardinal de Retz said, who had himself 
been her lo'ver, as a fugitive adventurer. She went alternately, com- 
manding or intriguing, to Holland, Flanders, Dieppe, Stenay, Montrond, 
Bordeaux. In 1649 she reigned in the H6tel-de-ville of Paris, and did 
what no one had ever done before, nor will perhaps do after her, she 
lay-in there ; and that at a time when this hotel served as a palace to 
the court, as the seat of government, and as the head-quarters of the 



212 LETTERS TO 



church ; she was bathed in tears ; it seems that some of Ml 
de la Rochefoucault's hand-writing had by accident fallen in 
her way, which had awakened all her sorrows. I had just 
parted from the Mesdemoiselles de la Rochefoucault at the 
Carmelites, who had been also weeping the loss of their father ; 
the eldest, in particular, equaled M. de Marsillac in affection- 
ate sorrow. I really do not think that Madame de la Fayette 
will ever be comforted ; for my part, I am the worst of any 
of her acquaintance to be with her ; for we can not help in- 
dulging ourselves in talking of that worthy man, and the con- 
versation is death to her. She was certainly more deserving 
of his regard than any of those he had an affection for. She 
has read your little note, and thanks you warmly for the man- 
ner in which you seem to enter into her grief. 

Have I told you of the reception Madame de Coulanges met 
with at St. Germain ? The dauphiness told her that she already 

army. Two of her lovers, the Count de Coligny and the Duke de Ne- 
mours, were killed in a duel. The first fought by her orders, in her 
quarrel, and under her inspection. The Duke de la Rochefoucault, 
who had long loved her, was betrayed by her, both as a friend and as 
a lover. When the peace of the Pyrenees had brought back the princes 
to France, it was found that age prescribed repose to her, at the same 
time that the state of affairs obliged her to it. She endeavored at first 
to escape it, by forming a party for Yoiture's sonnet against Bense 
rades. But these little contests of wit were insipid, in comparison with 
those she had been engaged in. Nothing remained for her but devo- 
tion ; and as a character and a party were always essential to her, she 
became the protectress of the Jansenists at court, and, what is more, 
mediatrix between them and Rome. For it was Madame de Longue- 
ville who in 1668 mediated the theological transaction which suspended 
the debates of the Formulary, and which was called the peace of Cle- 
ment IX. Singular woman ! who had the art of making herself con- 
spicuous while working out her salvation, and of saving herself on the 
same plank from perdition and from ennui. It was asserted at the 
time, that she died for want of food, and there is no doubt she practiced 
the most rigid austerities. " Though naturally delicate," says Madame 
de Maintenon, "she never relaxed in the practice of self-denial." 
There is a life of this lady in two volumes by Villefore, which is said 
to be well written. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 213 

knew her by her letters ; that her ladies had also told her a 
great deal of her wit, and that she wished to judge of it her- 
self. Madame de Coulanges supported her character admira- 
bly upon the occasion ; her repartees were brilliant, sallies of 
wit flew without number ; in the afternoon she was invited to 
be of the princess's private party, with her three friends : all 
the ladies of the court would have strangled her. You see 
that by means of these friends she gets admittance to a private 
conversation ; but what does all this tend to ? She can not 
be one of their party in public, nor at table. This spoils the 
whole ; she is fully sensible of the humiliation; and has been 
these four days tasting these pleasures and dissatisfactions. 



LETTER LXXXE. 

Paris, Wednesday , 2fay 1, 1680. 

I know not what weather you may have in Provence, but 
we have had for these weeks past such horrible weather here 
that several journeys have been delayed by it, and mine 
among the rest. The good abbe had like to have perished in 
going and coming from La Trousse ; so says M. de la Trousse — 
you would not have believed me. They had an architect 
with them, and went to give orders about some alterations, 
which will make this house, which we before thought so beau- 
tiful, hardly to be known again. 

We have a new moon to-day, which I hope will bring fine 
weather with it, and let me set out ; I have not yet fixed on 
what day I shall go. I can not express the concern this second 
parting gives me ; I must surely be out of my senses to re- 
move so much further from you, and to place a distance of a 
hundred leagues more between us than there is already. I 
have a mortal aversion to business ; it takes up so great a por- 
tion of our time, and makes us run hither and thither just as 
it pleases. I shall be so affected when I am setting out, that 
those who hand me into my carnage may very naturally 



214 LETTERS TO 

think it is at parting with them. I am certain I shall not be 
able to refrain from tears, and yet I must go, if it is only that 
I may come back again. 

Mademoiselle de Meri is now in possession of your apart- 
ment ; the noise of that little door opening and shutting, and 
the circumstance of not finding you there, have affected me 
more than I can express. All my people do their best to 
serve her. And if I were vain, I could show you a letter I 
received from her the other day, full of thanks for the assist- 
ance I have given her ; but as I am very modest, you know, I 
will content myself with placing it in my archives. 

I have seen Madame de Vins ; she is buried in her law-suits. 
However, we find time to chat together, and express our mu- 
tual wonder at the odd medley of good and evil in this world, 
and the impossibility of being truly happy. You know all 
that fortune has hitherto done for the Duchess of Fontanges. 
What she has reserved for her is this : so violent a flux, with 
some degree of fever, that she is confined to her bed at Mau- 
buisson, and her fine face already begins to swell. The Prior 
of Cabrieres does not quit her for an instant ; if he effects a 
cure, he will not make his fortune badly at court. Think 
whether her situation does not derogate somewhat from her 
happiness. Here is further room for reflection. But to an- 
other subject. 

Madame de Dreux was liberated from prison yesterday ; she 
was only reprimanded, which is a very slight punishment, and 
fined five hundred livres, which are to be distributed in alms. 
This poor lady has been confined a whole year in a room, where 
the light came in only by a small hole at the top, without 
tidings of any thing going on, or without comfort. Her mo- 
ther, who doted on her, who was herself still young and 
handsome, and who was equally beloved by her daughter, died 
about two months ago, of grief at her child's situation. Ma- 
dame de Drenx was ignorant of this event ; and yesterday, 
when her husband and all the family went with open arms to 
the place where she was confined, to receive her, the first 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 215 

word she spoke on seeing them enter her room, was, " Where 
is my mother ? Why is she not here ?" M. de Dreux told 
her she was waiting for her at home. The poor creature 
could not, however, enjoy the satisfaction of being at liberty ; 
but was incessantly inquiring what ailed her mother, that she 
was certain she must be ill, or she would have come to em- 
brace her after so long a separation. At length she got home. 
" What ! my mother not here ? I do not see her, I do not 
hear her !" She flew up stairs. No one knew what to say 
to her; all were in tears. She ran into her mother's apart- 
ment, she looked about her, called, but received no answer ; at 
length a Celestine friar, who was her confessor, appeared, and 
told her that she must not hope to see her mother again till 
they met in heaven, and that she must submit with resigna- 
tion to the Divine will. Upon hearing this she fainted away, 
and when she recovered, burst into tears and lamentations, 
which pierced the hearts of all present, crying that it was she 
who had killed her mother ; that she had rather have died in 
prison, than have been set at liberty to know the loss of so 
excellent a parent. Coulanges, who had run to M. de Dreux's, 
like many other friends, was witness to the whole of this af- 
fecting scene, which he related to us yesterday so naturally and 
pathetically, that Madame de Coulanges' eyes looked red, and 
I wept heartily, being wholly unable to suppress my tears. 
What think you, my child, of this bitter ingredient thrown 
into the cup of joy and triumph, to overpower the congratula- 
tions and embraces of a whole family and their friends ? The 
poor soul is still in tears, notwithstanding all M. de Richelieu's 
endeavors to dry them for her. He has indeed done wonders 
in this affair. 

I have been insensibly led into this long detail, which you will 
comprehend better than any one, and which has affected every 
heart. It is believed that M. de Luxembourg will be set at 
liberty upon as easy terms as Madame de Dreux ; for some of 
the judges would have released her without even being repri- 
manded. And, upon the whole, the treatment of the accused 



216 LETTERS TO 

persons has been shocking and scandalous, considering that 
nothing was proved against them. This, however, shows the 
integrity of the judges. 

We all approve the discourses of your preacher ; we have 
envied and admired him. The passion-sermon, which we 
heard not far from hence, was a most extraordinary one ; I 
assure you the terms rascal and scoundrel were made use o^ 
to express the humiliation of our blessed Saviour. Do not 
these terms convey noble and sublime ideas? Bourdaloue 
preached like an angel from heaven, both last year and this, 
for it is the same sermon. 

What you write me about this world appearing quite an- 
other world, if we could draw aside the curtain in eveiy 
family, is both well expressed and perfectly true. Good 
heavens ! who can tell whether even the heart of the princess, 
whom we praise so much, is thoroughly contented ? She has 
appeared dull" these three or four days past ; who knows how 
things are with her ? She would be with child, and she is 
not. Perhaps she wants to see Paris and St. Cloud, and she 
has not yet seen them. She is extremely affable ; she studies 
to please. Who knows but this may cost her some uneasi- 
ness ? Who knows whether she is pleased alike with all the 
ladies who have the honor of attending upon her? And 
lastly, who knows but she may be weary of so retired a life ? 

I have this very moment received your amiable melancholy 
letter of the 24th. Believe me, my dear child, it sensibly 
affects me. I am not yet set out, the bad weather detains me, 
for it would have been folly to expose myself in such a season. 
This has unhinged every thing. I shall write to you from 
Paris again, on Friday, and will tell you about the alterations 
that are going on : I gave my opinion first, and am not so silly 
as you think, when you are in the case. We read in history* 

* Every one knows that painting and sculpture took their rise from 
love, and that a marshal, who fell in love with a painter's daughter, 
became an excellent painter, merely by endeavoring to please his mis- 
tress. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 217 

of greater miracles : there are affections which do not yield to 
the other passion ; hence I am become an architect. 

I admire extremely what you say respecting devotion. Good 
heavens ! how truly may it be said that we are all like Tantalus 
with water close to our lips, and unable to drink ! Let the 
heart be cold, the understanding enlightened, it is just the 
same. I have no need of the dispute between the Jansenists 
and Molinists to decide this matter. What I feel myself is 
sufficient, and how can I doubt it, if I observe myself an in- 
stant ? I could talk a long time, and with infinite pleasure on 
this subject, if we were together, but you stop short, and I am 
silent. Corbinelli had. his share of your letter, for I am fond 
of his frank truths. He has just heard a sermon of the Abbe 
Flechier's,* at the taking the vail of a young Capuchin nun, 
which has charmed him. The subject was the freedom of the 
children of God, which he explained in a bold and masterly 
style. He showed " that this young person alone could be 
called free, because she partook of the freedom of Christ and 
his saints ; and she was released from the slavery in which we 
are held by our passions ; that it was she who was free, and 
not we ; that she had but one master, whereas we had a hun- 
dred ; and that instead of lamenting for her, as we did, with a 
worldly sorrow which was blamable, we ought to consider, 
respect, and even envy her, as a person chosen from all eternity 
to be of the number of the elect." I have not repeated the 
tenth part of what he said on this subject ; but it was altogether 
a finished pietfe. The funeral oration on Madame de Longue- 
ville is not to be printed. 

You ask me why I do not take Corbinelli with me ? He is 
going into Languedoc, loaded with the favors and civilities of 
M. de Vardes, who has accompanied his pension of 120 francs 
with so excellent a seasoning, I mean so many kind and affec- 
tionate sentiments, that our friend's philosophy could not with- 
stand it. Vardes is always in extremes; and as I am 

* Esprit Flechier, made Bishop of Lauvar in 1685, and removed 
from thence to Nimes in 1687. 

10 



218 LETTERS TO 

persuaded that he formerly hated him, because he had used 
him ill, he now loves him, because he uses him well : this is 
the Italian proverb and its reverse.* I am going there with 
only the good abbe, and a few books, and your idea, which 
will prove the source of all my pleasure or pain. I assure you 
it will keep me from staying out in the evening dews : I shall 
recollect that it would displease you ; and this will not be the 
only time you have prevented me from continuing my evening 
walk, and made me return 'home. I promise to consult you, 
and to follow your advice at all times ; do the same by me, 
and be under no alarms ; rest assured that I will take care of 
myself ; I wish I could put the same confidence in you ; but I 
have many subjects of complaint against you on this score ; 
and without going further than Monaco, have I not the banks 
of the Rhone, whither you forced the stoutest hearts in your 
family to accompany you, in spite of themselves ? I repeat it, 
in spite of themselves ; and be pleased to remember, on the 
other hand, that I should die with fear even to pass les vaux 
D'Olioulesf on foot. This confession of my cowardice is suf- 
ficient to prove my apprehensions and ensure your confidence. 
Let then, my dear child, the remembrance of me govern you, 
in some degree, as yours always governs me. 

I fancy my son will meet me at Orleans. I am aware of 
the attentions of M. de Grignan : he has politeness, nobleness, 
and even affectionate tenderness; but he has some points 
which are not so agreeable, and more difficult to be conceived ; 
and as every thing is cut diamond-wise, he has many sides 
which are inimitable, so that we are at once tempted to love 
and to scold him, to esteem and to blame, to embrace and to 
beat him. 

Adieu, my dear child ; I must now leave you. Surely you 
mean to laugh at me when you express your apprehensions lest 

* Chi offende non per dona. The offender never pardons. 

f Les vaux D'Olioules, or, as it is called in the dialect of that country, 
lets baous D' Oulioules, is a narrow pass by the side of a river, about ft 
league in length, running between two steep hills, in Provence. 



MADAME DE GEIGNAN. 219 

I should write too much. My lungs are almost as delicate as 
Georget's :* excuse the comparison, it comes from hence. But 
for you, my child, let me conjure you not to write. Montgo- 
bert, pray do not abandon me, but step in and take the pen 
from her hand. 



LETTER LXXXni. 



Paris, Monday, May 6, 1680. 
Tou observe with great humor, that, if the human heart is 
left to itself, it will always find something to comfort itself 
with, and that its disposition is to be happy. I hope mine 
will have the same disposition as others, and that time and the 
air will abate the uneasiness I at present endure. I think you 
borrowed from me what you say about the passion of separa- 
ting ourselves from each other ; it might be supposed that we 
thought ourselves too near neighbors, and that after mature 
deliberation it had been resolved on both sides to make a vol- 
untary removal of three hundred leagues further asunder. 
You see I in a manner copy your own letter ; the reason is, 
that you have given so agreeable a turn to my idea, that Itake 
pleasure in repeating it. I hope at last, the sea will set bounds 
to our passion, and that after having retired, each to a certain 
distance, we shall return back, and advance toward each other 
as fast as we have receded. It is certain that for two persons 
who seek each other's company, and delight in being together, 
we have had the most singular destiny. Whoever were to seek 
to destroy my faith in Providence, would deprive me of my 
only comfort ; and if I thought it was in our own power to 
settle or unsettle, to do or undo, to will one thing or another, 
I should never have a moment's peace. The Creator of the 
universe must be with me the director of every event that hap- 
pens ; and when I look to him as the cause, I blame no one, 
and submit with humility, though not without inexpressible 

* A celebrated ladies' shoemaker at Paris. 



220 LETTERS TO 

grief of heart ; at the same time I put my trust in Him, that 
He will again bring us together as he has done before. 



LETTER LXXXIY. 

The Rocks, Friday, May 31, 1680. 

Notwithstanding this letter will not go till Sunday, I am re- 
solved to begin it to-day, that I may date once more in the 
month of May. I fear that of June will appear still longer to 
me. I am certain, however, of not seeing so fine a country as 
the one I have left. There is a month in the year in which it 
rains every day ; this is owing to your prayers ; why will you 
not leave Providence a little to itself ? sometimes too much 
rain, sometimes too great drought ; you are never contented. 
God forgive me ! but this puts me in mind of the story of Ju- 
piter in Lucian, who is so wearied with the incessant importu- 
nities of mortals, that he sends Mercury to inquire into the 
matter, and, at the same time, orders ten thousand bushels of 
hail to fall upon Egypt, to stop their mouths. 

I will no longer oblige you to answer me on the subject of 
the Divine Providence, which I so greatly revere ; and which, 
in my opinion, commands and orders every thing in the world. 
I am persuaded you will not dare to treat this opinion as an 
inconceivable mystery, with the disciples of your Father Des- 
cartes ; it would be indeed inconceivable, that God should have 
made the world, and not direct all that passes in it. Those 
who make such fine restrictions and contradistinctions in their 
writings, speak much more freely, and with greater truth on 
the subject, when they have no crooked policy to govern them. 
These cutpurses are very agreeable in their conversation. I 
shall not mention their names, because I fancy you guess the 
principal one : the others are the Abbe du Pile, and M. Du- 
bois,* whom you are acquainted with, and who has an infinite 

* Dubois, of the French Academy, who translated several works of 
Cicero and Saint Augustin. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 221 

share of wit. Poor Nicole is still in the Ardennes * and M. 
Arnauld buried under ground, like a mole.f But whither is 
my pen running ? This is not what I meant to say to you. 
I intended to tell you that I received your letters at the place 
where we dined the day I left Nantes, and that, having no 
other means of conversing with you at so great a distance, 
the reading of them forms an occupation preferable to every 
other. 

We found the roads greatly improved between Nantes and 
Rennes, thanks to the care of M. de Chaulnes ; but the inces- 
sant rains we have had of late have made them as if two win- 
ters had followed close upon each other. We were continually 
in sloughs, or rivers of water ; we did not dare to cross over 
by Chateaubriant, for fear of being unable to get further. We 
arrived at Rennes on Ascension eve, and dear good Marbeuf 
was ready to devour me ; nothing would satisfy her, but my 
taking up my abode for a time at her house, but I refused ; I 
would neither sup nor sleep there : the next day she gave me 
a very elegant public breakfast, when the governor, and every 
person of note in the town, came to visit me. We set out 
again at ten o'clock, though every body assured me, that I had 
time enough before me, and that the roads were like this room; 
for that, you know, is the usual comparison : however, we 
found them so much like this room, that we did not get there 
till after midnight, and were all the way up to the axle-trees 
in water, and from Vitre to this place, a road I have passed a 
thousand and a thousand times, it was impossible to know it 
again ; the causeways are become impassable ; the ruts are sunk 
to a frightful depth ; the little inequalities are perfect mount- 

* The forest of Ardennes, in the Low Countries. 

f After the death of Madame de Longueville, these able writers, 
fearing persecution, left France. Arnauld retired into the Low Coun- 
tries, where he lived long unknown and in poverty. He remained 
there till his death. Nicole, more conciliating and less dreaded, re- 
turned to France. He figured in the quarrel of Bossuet and Fenelon, 
He supposed the former, but with prudence and moderation. 



222 LETTERS TO 

ains and caverns ; in a word, finding that we could no longer 
find our way, we sent to Pilois for help ; he came accordingly- 
bringing with him about a dozen stout country-fellows, some 
of whom held up the carriage, while others went before with 
wisps of lighted straw ; and all spoke such jargon, that we 
were ready to die with laughing; at length, thus attended, we 
arrived here, our horses jaded, our people dripping, our car- 
riage almost broken down, and ourselves tolerably fatigued ; 
we made a very light supper, went to bed, slept heartily, and 
this morning, when we awoke, we found ourselves safe and 
sound at the Rocks, though very much out of sorts. I had 
taken the precaution to send a servant before us, that we might 
not come into the midst of a dust of four years standing ; and 
we are tolerably decent at least. We have been entertained 
with a great number of visitors from Vitre, such as the Recol- 
lets, Mademoiselle du Plessis, still in tears for her mother, etc. 
etc., but I had not a moment's comfort till I had got rid of 
them all, which was about six o'clock in the evening, and had 
spent a little time in my woods, with honest Pilois. The 
walks and alleys are really enchanting; there are half a 
dozen new ones you have never seen. By the by, be under 
no apprehension about my exposing myself to the damps ; I 
know it would make you angry if I did, and that is sufficient 
to deter me. 

You always tell#me that you are in good health, and so does 
Montgobert ; and yet I can not help thinking that the plan 
of plunging twice a day into the Rhone can only suit a person 
whose blood is violently heated. I entreat you, my child, to 
consult a very grave and learned author in regard to the ef- 
fects bathing may have on your lungs : you know I was wit- 
ness to the evident injury you sustained from your half-baths, 
though they were advised by Fagon.* 

You must certainly have stood in need of all your strength 
to support the numerous visitors you have had ; twenty per- 
sons extraordinary at table makes me start a little. These are 

* First physician to Louis XIV. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 223 

whole retinues, as Corbinelli used to call them, when he found 
aimself so crowded in your drawing-room, and neither saluted 
aor took notice of any one ; it must be owned that your house 
ts the most frequented of any in the country ; this is living at 
rack and manger. Do you remember when we had all the 
Fouesnels here, with what impatience we waited for the happy 
minute when they were to take their leave ; how cheerfully we 
bid them adieu in our hearts, and how terrified we were lest 
they should yield to the false entreaties we made them to 
stay ; how our hearts bounded when we saw them fairly gone ; 
and our reflections how much bad company was preferable to 
good, the latter occasioning pain when they leave us, whereas 
the departure of the other takes a w T eight from the mind, and 
restores it to freedom ? do you remember all this, and how 
perfectly we enjoyed ourselves upon the occasion ? 

Madame de Ooulanges writes me word that Madame de 
Maintenon has lost a cane to the dauphin ; Madame de Cou- 
langes has ordered it to be made. The head is a pomegranate 
of gold, studded with rubies ; it opens and discovers the mini- 
ature picture of the dauphiness, with these words underneath, 
II piu grato nasconde.* Clement formerly made this device 
for you ; but that which seemed an exaggeration when applied 
to you, is perfectly true with regard to this princess. The* 
beautiful Fontanges still continues very ill. My son tells me 
they pass their time very pleasantly at Fontainebleau. Cor- 
neille's comedies are the delight of the whole court ; I have 
written to my son that it must be a great pleasure to be 
obliged to be there, to have a master, a place, and the favor 
of the great ; and had it been my case I should have been ex- 
tremely fond of that part of the world ; that the contrary was 
the sole reason of my removing to such a distance from it ; 
that this kind of contempt was, in fact, the result of disap- 
pointment and vexation, and that / abused it out of pure re- 
venge, as Montaigne says of youth ; in short, that I wondered 
how he could prefer passing his time as I do, with Madame du 

* The greatest charms are concealed. 



224 LETTERS TO 

Plessis and Mademoiselle de Launay, to spending it in the 
midst of all that is gay and great. 

What I say for myself, my child, I say in reality for you ; 
for do not imagine, if M. de Grignan and you were situated 
agreeably to your merit, that you would have any dislike to 
such a life ; but it does not please Providence that you should 
arrive at more greatness than you at present possess. As to 
myself, I have seen the day when little, very little, was wanting 
for fortune to have placed me in the most agreeable situation 
in the world ; when, all of a sudden, the scene changed to im- 
prisonment and exile.* Do you think my fortune has been the 
happiest in the world ? yet I am content ; or, if I have my 
moments of murmuring, it is not on my own account. 

Your description of Madame D.'s conduct is very amusing ; 
it is a sort of economy in love, worthy of Armida. You seem 
to believe that M. de Rouille will not return ; I am sorry for 
it, and I should be still more so were it not that I believe your 
stay in Provence almost at an end, and consequently that you 
can have little occasion for him. If any thing is to be done 
in the assembly, the coadjutor will give a good account of it, 
in the absence of M. de Grignan. 



LETTER LXXXV. 



The Rocks, "Wednesday, June 5, 1680. 
At length I have the pleasure, at this immense distance 
from each other, to receive your letters on the ninth day after 
they are written, with the prospect of happier times before 
me. I often admire the great kindness and civility of those 
gentlemen of whom the author of Moral Essays speaks so« 

* Madame de Sevigne alludes to the banishment of M. de Bussy, the 
chief of her house, and the confinement of M. de Fouquet, her inti- 
mate friend. To which may be added, the exile of the Arnaulds, and, 
further back still, the misfortunes of Cardinal de Retz, her relation and 
friend 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 225 

humorously, and to whom we are so much indebted. What do 
they not do for us ? To what offices do they not submit, to 
be useful to us ? Some run four or five hundred miles to carry 
our letters ; others, at the hazard of their necks, climb to the 
tops of our houses, to prevent our being incommoded by the 
rains ; and others suffer still more. In short, this is an ar- 
rangement of Providence ; and the thought of gain, which is 
in itself an evil, becomes converted into a source of good. 

I have brought a number of the best authors with me, 
which I have been arranging this morning. There is no look- 
ing into them, whichever it may be, without a desire to read 
it through. Some are religious tracts that do honor to the 
faith they maintain ; others books of history, the best of their 
kind ; besides ethics, poety, novels, and memoirs. The ro- 
mances are in disgrace, and banished to a by-closet. "When 
I enter this little library I wonder how I am able to leave it 
again. In short, my child, it is altogether worthy of your 
presence, and so are my walks ; but, for the company, it is 
very far from being so. There is strange skimming of the 
pot on Sundays :* one good thing, however, is, that they sup 
at six o'clock, and leave me to fly to my lawns and groves for 
relief. Madame du Plessis, in her deep mourning, never quits 
me. I could well say of her mother as of M. de Bonneuil, 
she has left a very ridiculous daughter behind her : she is so 
impertinent too. I am really ashamed of her regard for me, 
and I sometimes say to myself, Is it possible there can be any 
sympathy between her and me ? She talks incessantly ; but 
by the grace of God, I am to her, as you are to many others, 
absolutely dead ; I do not hear three words she says. She is 
at daggers drawn with all her family about her mother's will : 
this is a new embellishment to the former beauties of her 
mind : she confounds the meaning of every thing she says ; 

* On account of the number of visitors, which was always greatest 
on Sundays, and to whom Madame de Sevigne thought herself obliged 
to do the honors of her house, which she humorously called skimming 
her pot 

10* 



226 LETTERS TO 

and when she is complaining of the ill-treatment she receives, 
she cries, They have used me like a barbarity, like a cruelty. 
You will have me entertain you with such trash, and now I 
hope you have enough for a time. 

My letters are of such an enormous length that you ought, 
according to your rule, to make yours to me very short, and 
leave all the rest to Montgobert. Health is at all times a real 
and intrinsic treasure, that will serve us on every exigency. 
Madame de Coulanges has written me a thousand trifles, that 
I would communicate to you, but that I think it would be ab- 
solutely ridiculous. The favor of her female friend (Madame 
de Maintenon) still continues. The queen accuses her of the 
cause of the distance between her and the dauphiness. The 
king comforts her for this disgrace : she visits him every day, 
and their conversations are of a length that surprises every 
body, and gives occasion to numberless conjectures. 

I consider futurity as a dark road, in which the traveler 
may find light and accommodation when he least thinks of it. 

M. de Lavardin is going to be married* in good earnest ; 
and Madame de Moucif is said to be the person who in- 
spires Madame de Lavardin with the idea of doing every 
thing that can prove advantageous to her son. This De Mouci 
must certainly have a most extraordinary soul. Young Molac 
is to marry the Duchess of Fontanges's sister ; the king gives 
him to the value of 400,000 francs with her. 

How just is your observation upon the death of M. de la 
Rochefoucault and so many other friends ! " The ranks close, 
and he is seen no more." It is certain that Madame de la 
Fayette is overwhelmed with grief, and can not feel, as she 
would have done at another time, the good fortune of her son. 
The dauphiness was particular in her attentions to her : the 
Princess of Savoy has spoken of her as her best friend. 

* To Louise-Anne de Noailles, sister to Anne Julius Duke of JSToailles, 
and Marshal of France. 

+ Marie de Harlaie, sister to Achilles de Harlaie, at that time attor 
ney-general, and afterward first president of the parliament of Paris. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 227 

I am very glad my letter pleased M. de Grignan : I spoke 
my mind with great sincerity. He must divest himself of all 
those ruinous whims, which take their turns with him by the 
quarter. They must not merely sleep, like the nobility of 
Lower Brittany, but be altogether extinct. 

Adieu, my beloved child ; I admire and love your letters, 
and yet I will have no more of them ; cut short, and leave 
Montgobert to prattle in your stead. I will try to take from 
you the desire of writing much : by the length of my letters 
you shall find them beyond your strength to answer, which is 
just what I wish ; so shall I be a shield to you. I am of 
opinion that you have a numerous correspondence upon your 
hands, say what you will ; for my part, I only stand upon the 
defensive in my answers, I never begin the attack ; but then, 
even these seem of such a bulk, that, on post-days, when I re- 
tire to my chamber at night, and see my writing-desk, I am 
ready to run under the bed to hide myself, like our late mad' 
ame's little dog, whenever it saw a book. 



LETTER LXXXVI. 



The Rocks, Wednesday, June 12, 1680. 
So, I have written a sermon without thinking of it ! I am 
as much surprised at this as the Count de Soissons,* when he 
was told he had made prose. It is true, I feel myself disposed 
to do all honor to the grace of Christ. I do not cry out, as 
the queen-mother did in the excess of her zeal against those 
vile Jansenists, " Ah ! ^e, fie upon grace !" I say the contrary, 
and can bring good vouchers for it. Since you have imparted 
to me your visions, with regard to the fortunes of your broth- 
ers-in-law, I will tell you sincerely that I was afraid the air 
of a house, where saving grace was sometimes talked of, might 

* It is singular that Moliere should have found in a nobleman the 
most laughable instances of ignorance, with which he endows his 
Bourgeois Gentilhomme. 



228 LETTERS TO 

have injured the Abbe de Grignan. Thank heaven, I have 
done no more harm than yourself ; and if I am silent for the 
future, as I ought, and certainly shall be, it will not be from 
the fear of injuring any one. Your young bishops are seldom 
suspected of this heresy. I have just been writing to the 
chevalier : he has absolutely forgotten me, and as he is not 
infected with the Grignan indolence, it may be a serious busi- 
ness. 

Your great building, my dear, is begun to-day ; Du But 
will do all he can to hasten the workmen. There was no pos- 
sibility of commencing sooner, and there is time enough to 
complete every thing. I send you a letter of Madame de La- 
vardin's, by which you will see what are her sentiments. I 
am almost tempted to send you likewise a very long letter I 
have received from Madame de Mouci, in which she takes 
pleasure in acquainting me with every thing she has done 
relatively to this marriage ; she has made choice of me, in 
preference to any other person, to communicate the whole of 
his conduct to. She is in the right ; the second volume is 
Worthy the admiration of any one who had read the first. 
She seems happy in taking every opportunity of loading M. 
de Lavardin with favors, by means of the influence she has 
over his mother. She has made her give a thousand pounds 
worth of pearls ; she has made her give all the fire-irons, 
stoves, candlesticks, tables, and silver waiters, that were worth 
having ; handsome tapestry, fine old furniture, with linen and 
dressing gowns, which Madame de Mouci selected herself. 
Her heart takes this method of avenging itself; but for her it 
would have been a mere village wedding. She has made her 
give considerable estates to her son, and, to crown all, she will 
manage so that the new married couple will not live in the 
same house with the mother, whose overbearing temper, and 
rigid observance of hours, would by no means suit the young 
couple. Madame de Mouci delights in displaying to me the 
liberality of her soul, and I am amazed to see the extraordi- 
narv manner in which she contributes to M. de Lavardin's 



MADAME DE 6BIGNAN. 229 

happiness. The desire of being singular, and of distinguishing 
ourselves by stepping a little out of the common road, seems 
to me to be the source of many virtues. She writes me word 
that she should be very happy if I were at Paris, because I 
should understand her ; no one else being able to comprehend 
what she is doing. She adds besides that I should die with 
laughing, to see the grimaces Madame de Lavardin makes, 
every time the devil of avarice is cast out of her by the power 
of her exorcisms. The poor lady seems perfectly exhausted, 
like the nuns of Loudun* It must certainly be a very comic 
scene. 

I have also received some very entertaining letters from the 
Marchioness d'Huxelles. The fair widows do wonders. Ma- 
dame de Coulanges assures me, that she is to set out on the 
20th for Lyons ; she writes me a thousand trifles. This city 
will become the source of all the private intelligence of the 
court ; but do you suppose she will communicate any of this 
precious commodity to the inhabitants ? 

I had a visit the other day from an Augustin friar, a poor 
creature, a very poor creature indeed. He assumed the airs 
of a preacher, but I answered his pompous ignorance only 
with a smile of contempt ; he still went on, till at last I was 
strongly tempted to throw a book at his head. I fancy Ma- 
dame de Coulanges will be ready to reply in the same way to 
the ladies of Lyons. Young Coulanges will be with you ; he 
has given up M. de Chaulnes and Brittany for Lyons and the 
Grignans. I am quite of his opinion, my dearest child, and 
my greatest joy would be to make one of your party. Ah ! 

* Alluding to the Histoire des Diables de Loiodun, History of the 
Devils of Loudun. It is well known that the fierce hatred of Cardinal 
de Richelieu, the maneuvers of the Capuchin Joseph, and the cruelty 
of the judge, Laubardement, caused the unfortunate cure Urbain Grand- 
ier to perish in the flames, as convicted of the crime of magic, " upon 
the deposition of Ashtaroth, devil of the order of Seraphims, and chief 
of the possessing devils, and Eusas, Cham, Acaos, Zebulan, Nephthaim, 
Uriel, and Acas, of the order of the principalities." These are the 
terms of the sentence. 



230 • LETTERS TO 

how I should like to sup in your delightful grotto ! How 
pleased I should be with M. de Grignan's music, and those 
beautiful passages in the opera, which have often made my 
eyes glisten. Oh ! it would be a charming party. Your 
house is a little town. Really, to reflect upon our situations 
and dispositions, it might be supposed some magic change had 
been wrought upon us. And yet, to the honor of both, you 
fill your exalted station admirably, and shine as in your proper 
sphere ; while I and my humble fortune seem fitted for the 
woods, and the solitude I inhabit. The truth is, I am as- 
sured from whence all this comes ; it is necessary to raise our 
reyes to Heaven, after having long kept them fixed upon the earth. 
The other evening one of my people told me, " that it was 
very warm in the mall ; that there was not a breath of air 
stirring, and that the moon shone with the finest effect 
imaginable." I could not resist the temptation, so on I put 
bonnets, cloaks, capuchins, and all the needless defenses you 
could wish ; and forth I sallied to the mall, where the air 
was as mild as in my own room. I found there a thousand 
fantastic illusions of the night, black and white friars, linen 
scattered here and there, black men in one place, others buried 
upright against trees, little dwarfs who just showed their heads 
and concealed the rest of their bodies, priests who dared not 
approach me, etc., etc. After having laughed heartily at all 
these figures, and fully convinced ourselves of the true origin 
of what are called spirits, apparitions, that play their farces in 
the theater of our imaginations, we returned to the house 
without sitting down, or feeling the lest dew. I beg your par- 
don, my dear child, but I thought myself obliged, after the 
example of the ancients, as the foolish fellow we met in the 
gardens at Livri used to say, to show this mark of respect to 
the moon ; I assure you I have sustained no injury from it. { 
There has fallen to me, out of the clouds, one of the pret- 
tiest calambour* chaplets in the world ; this is doubtless be- 
cause I tell my beads so well. The best ball to the best 

* Calembour, calamlouc, or calambac. are knots of the aloe-tree round 



MADAME DE GRIGNiN, 231 

player, you know. This chaplet has a cross of diamonds 
hanging to it, with a death's head of coral ; I have certainly 
seen that vile face somewhere. Tell me, I beseech you, how it 
found its way to me at such a distance ? In the mean time, I 
shall not tell my beads without considerable musings ; I am 
of opinion that it will occasion greater distractions. I wait 
your answer on this subject. 

Have you heard the story of Madame de Saint-Pouanges ? 
They concealed it a long time from me, lest it should prevent 
me from returning to Paris in a carriage. This lady was 
going to Fontainebleau, for we should let no advantage slip, 
where she pretended she should be highly entertained ; she 
had a very pretty place at court, was young, and had a taste 
for all the pleasures suitable to her years ; she adopted the 
fashionable mode of setting out at six o'clock in the evening, 
and driving post, so as to get in about midnight. But, listen 
to the consequences : her carriage was overturned by the way, 
a piece of broken glass pierced through her stays into her 
body, and she died of the wound. They write me word from 
Paris that she lost her reason, between the pain the surgeons 
gave her and the mortification of dying in the bloom of youth. 
Is not this a curious adventure ? If you know it already, it 
will be ridiculous to tell it you a second time ; but it has 
made a strange impression on my brain. It seems Madame 
de Nevers* has made one, on the greatest head in the world, 
and has turned another smaller one quite topsy-turvy ; but I 
do not find that this has been attended with any serious con- 
sequences. 

which the resin collects and hardens by incorporation. This calembouc 
neld to the fire emits a fine perfume. The aloe-tree grows in the woods 
of Coch in-China. 

* Madame de Nevers, the daughter of Madame de Thianges, was a 
perfect beauty. The greatest head is the king ; but it was not true that 
he had designs upon her, as it was said she had upon him. The . ther 
smaller head was the duke, the son of the great Conde, who was really 
very much in love with her. 



232 LETTERS TO 

The king took the sacrament on Whitsunday. Madame de 
Fontange's influence still continues brilliant and solid ; but 
what are we to think of this friendship ? I have received a 
letter from M. Pomponne, in the midst of his retirement, of 
which I am more proud than if it had been from amid all the 
splendor of St. Germain. It is there he is again become as 
perfect as at Frene. Ah ! how excellent a use does he make 
of hi3 disgrace, and what charming company he is in 1 



LETTER LXXXVH. 



The Rocks, Saturday, June 15, 1680. 

I shall make no answer to what you say of my letters. I 
am extremely happy that they please you ; had you not told 
me so I should have thought them unbearable. I never can 
muster up courage enough to read one of them through, and 
I often say to myself, Good heavens ! with what nonsense do I 
pester my poor child ! Sometimes I even repent having writ- 
ten so much, lest I should lay you under a sort of obligation 
to answer me in the same way ; but let me entreat you, my 
child, to indulge me in the pleasure of chatting to you with- 
out putting yourself to the trouble of answering. Your last 
letter exceeded all the bounds of prudence and the care you 
ought to take of your health. 

You are too good in wishing me more society ; but, in fact, 
I do not want it. I am accustomed to solitude. I have my 
workmen to amuse me, and the good abbe has his likewise. 
His taste for buildings and alterations gets the better of his 
prudence. It does not cost him much, indeed, but it would 
cost him still less to let it alone. 

All my delight is in my wood : it is impossible to describe 
how beautiful it is. I often walk there with my cane and 
Louison, which is all I desire. In my closet I find such agree- 
able company that I often say to myself, This is worthy my 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 233 

daughter ; she could not here lay her hand amiss upon a book, 
there is hardly room left for choice. I have taken up Les Con- 
versations Chretiennes (Christian Dialogues). They are written 
by an honest Cartesian, who seems to have all your Recherche 
de la Verite (Inquiry after Truth, by heart) ; which treats of 
that philosophy, and of the supreme power of God over his 
creatures, who, as St. Paul says, " live, move, and have their 
being," in Him alone, and by him know all things. I will let 
you know if this book is within my comprehension, if not, I 
shall quit it it with all humility, renouncing the foolish vanity 
of appearing wise when I am not so. I assure you I think 
like our brothers ; and were I to express myself in print, I 
should say so. I know the difference between the language 
of policy and that of the heart. God is omnipotent, and does 
what he pleases ; that I understand. He wants our hearts, 
and we will not give them to him ; there lies the mystery. 
But do not discover that of our sisters of Saint-Marie : they 
write me word that they are charmed with the book I lent 
them.* 

You remind me of the foolish answer I made to excuse my- 
self from going to Madame de Bret***,f u that I had but one 
son." This made your bishops start. I thought that it had 
been merely my heretical air, I mentioned it to you the other 
day. I think, however, there appeared something strange in 
the expression. Heaven be praised, my dear countess, we have 
done no harm ; your brothers could not be better provided foi 
than at present, even had we been Mollnists. Probable opin- 
ions, and the direction of purposes, would not have been more 
advantageous to them in the Hotel de Carnava^et than the 
libertinism of our conversations. I am delighted at it, and 
have often thought how unjustly we might have suffered on 
this occasion. 

* See Letter, May 25. 

f Apparently, Madame de Bretonvilliers, whom the Memoirs of the 
times represent as the over-officious friend of the Archbishop ot Paris 
De Harlai, who was not so timid a priest as he was a rigid Molinist. 



234 LETTERS TO 

I can make nothing of the affair of M. de la Trousse or 
Madame d'Epinoi, or of the servant who robbed them. I will 
endeavor to get information on this subject, and will send you 
the letters. You find that poor Madame de Lavardin is quite 
unhappy. Who would have supposed that she would have 
been otherwise than rejoiced at her son's being married?* 
But I speak like a fool. It should be our invariable maxim, 
that human nature can never be happy. Young Chiverni 
seems to be as much so as any one : you see how he has ex- 
tricated himself from his misery. Your poor brother, indeed, 
seems fated never to be happy in this world ; as to the other 
world, if we may judge by appearances, I see no probability 
of his being in the right road. The Bishop of Chalons is 
certainly in heaven, for he was a devout prelate and a virtuous 
man. You see all our friends are lost to us one after another. 

I wrote the other day to Madame de Vins that I would 
leave her to guess what sort of virtue I practiced most here ; 
and informed her it was liberality. It is certain that I have 
given away very considerable sums since my arrival ; eight 
hundred francs one morning, one thousand another, five hun- 
dred another, one day three hundred crowns ; you may think 
I am jesting, but it is too true. I have farmers and millers 
who owe me these sums, and have not a farthing to pay me 
with. "What is to be done in this case % Why I make a virtue 
of necessity, and forgive them the debts. You will readily 
believe that I make no great merit of this since it is forced 
liberality ; but my head was full of it when I wrote to Madame 
de Vins, and so down it went on the paper. I endeavor to 
make the fines pay for it. I have not yet touched one of the 
six thousand francs from Nantes ; money-matters are not soon 
settled. The other day I had a visit from a pretty little wife 
of a farmer of Bodegat, with sparkling eyes, fine person, and 
smartly dressed in a holland gown, with ruffled cuffs, and a 
long train. Good heavens ! thought I, when I saw her, I am 
ruined ; for you must know, her husband owes me eight thou* 

* See the preceding Letter. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 235 

sand francs. M. de Grignan would certainly have fallen in 
love with this woman ; she is the very image of one he ad- 
mired at Paris. This morning a countryman came in with 
bags on all sides, some under his arms, some in his pockets, 
and some in his breeches, which he began to untie, for in this 
country they dress in a strange way ; the fashion of buttoning 
the lower part of the jacket is not yet introduced here ; they 
are very saving of the stuff of which their breeches are com- 
posed, and from the gentry of Vitre down to my clodpole, 
every thing is in the highest state of negligence. The good 
abbe, who, you know, loves the main chance, seeing the fellow 
so loaded, thought we were rich forever. " Upon my word, 
friend, you are bravely loaded, how much money do you bring 
us ?" " Please your reverence," answered the man, " I think 
there is a matter of thirty francs." My dear child, I believe 
all the doubles* in France were collected to fill these bags. In 
this manner do they abuse our patience and forbearance. 

You give me great pleasure by what you say of Montgo- 
bert. I thought, indeed, what I wrote to you upon her ac- 
count was superfluous, and that your excellent understanding 
would reconcile every thing. In this manner, my child, you 
ought always to act, in spite of momentary vexations. Mont- 
gobert has an excellent heart, though her temper is rather too 
hasty and impetuous ; I always honor the goodness of her 
heart. We are frequently obliged to bear with the little de- 
pendencies and circumstances of friendship, though they may 
sometimes be disagreeable. I shall some day send her a bad 
cause to defend at Rochecourbiere ; since she has a talent for 
these things, it ought to be exercised. You will have M. de 
Coulanges with you ; who will be a capital performer. He 
will inform you of his views and expectations, I know nothing 
of them myself; he dreads solitude so much that he will not 
even write to any one who lives in it. Grignan, therefore, is a 
place perfectly qualified to charm him, as he himself is to 

* Small pieces of money, of which about five are equal to an English 
penny. 



236 LETTERS TO 

charm others ; I never met with such delightful society, it is 
the object of all my wishes ; I think of you all incessantly ; I 
read your letters over and over again, saying as at Livri : Let 
us see what my daughter said to me a week or tien days ago ; 
for, in short, it is she who converses with me, and I thus enjoy 
" the ingenious art of painting language, and of talking to the 
eyes." 

You know it is not the retired groves at the Rocks that 
make me think of you ; I thought of you as much in the midst 
of the bustle of Paris. You are fixed in the center of my 
heart ; every thing else is transient ; it passes and is forgotten. 
I have forgotten even my Agnes, and yet she is very amiable ; 
her wit has something of the simplicity of the country in it ; 
but that of Madame de Tarente is still in the high courtly 
taste. The roads from hence to Vitre are grown so intolera 
bly bad, that the king and M. de Chaulnes have ordered them 
to be repaired. All the peasants of that barony will be assem- 
bled there on Monday next. 

Adieu, my dearest ! when I tell you that my affection is of 
no use to you, do you not understand in what way I mean, 
and to what my heart and imagination tend ? Pray tell me 
if you intend to place our little girl at Aix with her aunt,* and 
to send Paulina away. The dear child is a perfect prodigy ; 
her understanding and wit are a sufficient portion for her ; 
will you then place her on a level with a common person ? I 
should always take her with me wherever I went, and should 
never think of sending her to Aix with her sister.f In short, 
I should treat her, as she merits, extraordinarily. 

* Marie Adhemar de Monteil, sister of M. de G-rignan, and one of 
the nuns of Aubenas, a town and convent of the Lower Vivares. See 
the letter of 9th of June. 

\ Marie Blanche, the eldest sister of Paulina, was in the nunnery of 
St. Marie of Aix, where a short time afterward she took the vaiL 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 237 



LETTER LXXXVIE. 

The Rocks, Sunday, Sept. 15, 1680. 

What infinite obligations does my heart owe you, and how 
happy have you made it, by permitting me to hope for your 
presence this winter ! I have read over and over again the 
delightful letter I so fondly and impatiently expected. I said 
to myself, " Yes, this is the voice of my child, who assures 
me she shall come to Paris soon after All-Saints." Oh, how 
great the joy to have such comfortable assurance in my pos 
session ! 

You surprise me at the profound secrecy that our lovely 
saint observes of her noble and pious intentions to Madame 
du Janet. It is so natural to talk of what we ardently wish, 
of what the heart is full of, that it is doing penance before- 
hand to keep silence on such occasions ; but such is her dispo- 
sition ; she speaks on this subject only to her holy father alone, 
as it is he alone who is to determine the duration of a resi- 
dence which she would be sorry to have protracted. By de- 
priving herself of the pleasure of communicating her inten- 
tions, she finds them more strongly confirmed in her breast. 

I can not at this distance discover what is become of the 
crowd that so lately swarmed in your castle. I left you, I 
thought, in the midst of a fair ; but since I now find you re- 
posing on your little bed, you must certainly have found means 
to escape from the throng. Montgobert has not written to 
me, and you mention your health very slightly ; you ought to 
have informed me whether the medicines you are taking have 
the desired effect, and whether this thinness upon thinness is 
likely to reduce you to your former state. It is a sad misfor- 
tune that what does you service in one way, should injure you 
in another ; it throws a damp upon the satisfaction we should 
otherwise feel. % 

We are at present among a set of persons with whom we 
make great use of both our reason and reasoning. You know, 



238 LETTERS TO 

my child, what a good hearer I am, thanks to God and you, 
as they say in this country ; I have lost, by dint of listening 
to you, the gross ignorance I possessed on many subjects ; 
this is a pleasure I now feel the advantage of. We have had 
here a party or two at ombre and reversis, and the next day 
altra scena (a change of scene). M. de Montmoron came, 
you know he has a great deal of wit ; Father Damaie, who 
does not live quite a hundred miles from this place ; my son, 
who you know is perfect master of disputation, and Corbi- 
nelli's letters, making four, and I am audience for them ; they 
entertain me exceedingly. M. de Montmoron perfectly under- 
stands your philosophy, and controverts it stoutly. My son 
maintains the cause of your father ; as also Damaie ; and 
Corbinelli, in his letters, takes the same side ; but they are not 
all more than a match for Montmoron. He insists that we 
can have no ideas but what are imparted through the medium 
of the senses. My son contends that we think independently 
of our senses ; for instance, we think that we think :* this is 
in general the subject of our disputations, which have been 
carried on with great spirit, and have delighted me extremely. 
Could you, my child, have made a party in this conversation, 
by your letter, as Corbinelli has done, you would have 
strengthened a little our Sevigne. And now I mention him, 
I must acquaint you that he is still very far from being well, 
though he thinks himself out of danger, as indeed I do also ; 

* "We are agreeably surprised to see at this era, in the heart of Brit- 
tany, a gentleman who so ably refuted the system of innate ideas, and 
already exhibiting the theory of Locke. For though the English philos- 
opher was in Paris in 1675, I do not think his opinions were ever 
promulgated there, or that they were even at that time published. But 
Hobbes, and particulary Gassendi, had raised objections to the medita- 
tions of Descartes, of which the principles had sprung up in able heads. 

But what deceives Madame de Sevigne here, is the word to think, ill 
understood, and applied to many secondary operations of the under- 
standing. Its too general signification disguises its origin. Descartes 
himself was mistaken by not submitting this word sufficiently to the 
analysis which he himself invented. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 239 

but he is tired of doctors as well as you ; he has taken more 
medicines than were necessary ; they have acted upon his 
blood, and heated it to such a degree that every day some of 
those horrible eruptions -appear which are so very disagreeable 
both to those who suffer and those who see them ; tlm- he 
poor fellow is happy to have a little respite, that he m:y e- 
pose himself. 

Yesterday I observed, with admiration, how very easy it is 
to console ourselves for the want of play by a better avoca- 
tion ; and how patient we are while we are squandering our 
money in farthings, as I said the other day at Rennes. But 
without imitating you, for I hate a bad copy of a good origi- 
nal, I shall tell you that my age and experience make me 
wish not to have always such demands upon me, and that 1 
could now and then put a little wit into my poor head ; indeed 
it is what I am every day endeavoring to do when in my 
closet or my wood. You will not perhaps be displeased to 
know the person who has engaged us in play of late. It is a 
tolerably pretty woman from Vitre, who has been here three 
nights, and during her stay we have hardly had the cards out 
of our hands, she is so passionately fond of them. How much 
better does Mademoiselle de Grignan spend her time, happy 
creature ! In reading your letters over more carefully, I find 
she speaks without reserve of her intentions to Madame du 
Janet, and that is the only conversation she had with M. de 
Grignan that she conceals from her ; but still I can not help 
wondering that she should mention the one without the other. 
It must be no small satisfaction to her to have the conversa- 
tion of so prudent and good a person. I reverence moie 
than ever the wise dispensations of Providence when I reflect 
how it turns the steps you are about to take to my advan- 
tage ; and I already begin to enjoy, in imagination, the pleas- 
ure I am to receive. 

I ask a thousand pardons : I have met with a little book of 
madrigals,* containing the prettiest things in the world. I 

* By La Sabliere. 



240 LETTERS TO 

must endeavor to bring them into favor with you this winter. 
It is a pleasure to have a bad memory ; we are reading Sara- 
sin again, and I am as much delighted with him as at first ; 
this is the case also with Les Petites Lettres ; we find some- 
thing new in these, and we add others according to our fancy : 
your brother has an excellent knack at furnishing these 
amusements. I had a mind to dip again into the Prejudices,* 
I think them admirable : but what crowns the whole, my dear- 
est child, is, that these things all lead directly to you. Oh, 
how sweet the consolation, to think that we shall meet once 
more ! Alas, a whole year has passed in continual adieus ; 
mortifying occupation ! I can not look upon the past with so 
much tranquillity as you do. It is to me a source of the bit- 
terest uneasiness, at least it has been so till I read the pleasing 
assurance of your return ; now I forgive it in consideration of 
the future, which offers itself to my imagination fraught with 
hopes that make amends for all. 



LETTER LXXXIX. 



The Rocks, Sunday, Sept. 22, 1680. 
You are so much of a philosopher, my beloved child, that 
there is no such thing as giving vent to the transports of the 
heart with you. You are continually anticipating hopes ; and 
you pass over the joy of possession, to contemplate the hour 
of separation. Believe me, we ought to manage differently 
the blessings which Providence has in store for us. After 
having made you this reproach, it remains with me honestly 
to confess that I deserve it as much as you do, and that it is 
impossible for any one to be more alarmed at the cruel rapidity 
of time, or to have a stronger foretaste of those sorrows which 
generally follow in the train of pleasures. In short, my child, 
this life is a perpetual checker- work of good and evil, pleasure 

* A work of M. Nicole's, entitled, Prejuges legitimes contre les Cak 
vinistes (Well-founded Prejudices against the Calvinists). 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 241 

and pain. When in possession of what we desire, we are only 
so much the nearer losing it ; and when at a distance from it, 
we live in the expectation of enjoying it again. It is our busi- 
ness, therefore, to take things as God is pleased to send them. 
For my part, I am resolved to indulge myself in the delightful 
hope of seeing you, without any mixture of alloy. 

You are very unjust, my love, in the judgment you pass 
upon yourself; you say, that though people at first think you 
agreeable, upon a longer acquaintance they cease to love you ; 
it is precisely the reverse ; you have a certain air of superiority 
that makes people afraid of you, and despair of ever being ad- 
mitted into the number of your friends ; but when once they 
know you, it is impossible not to be attached to you ; and if 
any of your acquaintance seem to shun you, it is only because 
they love you, and can not bear the thought of not being so 
much loved in return as they wish. I have heard many per- 
sons extol the charms of your friendship to the skies, and af- 
terward reflect on their own want of merit, which prevented 
them from preserving that happiness ; thus each blames him- 
self for a degree of coldness ; but where there is no real cause 
of complaint on either side, it seems only to require a little 
leisurely conversation to be good friends again. 

I have a great desire to read Terence ; nothing could give 
me greater pleasure than to see the originals, of which the 
copies have afforded me so much pleasure. My son will trans- 
late to me satire against foolish amours ;* he ought to be able 
to write one himself, or at least to profit by this ; if the situation 
he is in at present does not correct him, I know not what will. 
We read books of controversy ; one has lately been publishedf 
in answer to the Prejudices, to which I wish M. Arnauld had 

* She, no doubt, alludes here to the well-known description of the 
extravagance of lovers, which is to be found in Terence's Eunuch, 
Scene I. beginning in these words : 

In amore hsec omnia insunt vitia, etc. 

f Written by the Protestant minister Claude, entitled, " A Defense 
of the Reformation against the ' Well-founded Prejudices' of M. Nicole." 

11 



242 LETTERS TO 

replied ; but I fancy that he has been forbidden ; and it is 
thought more advisable to leave this book unanswered, though 
it may do injury to religion, than to permit the publication of 
another that may serve to justify the Jansenists from the errors 
with which they have been reproached ; but more of this 
another time. I have been promised the coadjutor's speech, 
but I have not yet had it ; my son and several others speak 
highly in its praise. 



LETTER XO. 

The Rocks, Wednesday, November 26, 1684. 

So much the worse for you, my dear child ; if you do not 
read over your letters, your indolence robs you of a great pleas- 
ure, which is not one of the least of the evils it may occasion 
you ; for my part, I read them over and over again ; they con- 
stitute all my joy, all my sorrow, all my occupation, so that 
you are the center and cause of all. I shall begin this letter 
with you. 

Is it possible that what you tell me can be true, that when 
you spoke to the king you were like a person beside yourself, 
and so lost, to use your own expression, in the blaze of maj- 
esty, that you knew not what you said, nor could recollect 
any of your ideas. Never, never can I believe that my beloved 
daughter, always so remarkable for her ready wit and happy 
presence of mind, should have been in such a situation. I 
must confess, that from what his majesty said to you — " that 
he would do something for M. de Grignan" — I by no means 
understand that he merely alluded to the great expense M. de 
Grignan had lately incurred : no, the king's answer appeared 
to me to bear this construction, " Madam, the favor you ask 
of me is a trifle, I will do something more for Grignan ;" 
meaning, I suppose, the affair of the survivorship, which he 
knew would be a capital point for your family. I had no idea 
of the little present in question, and you know what I said 



MADAME DE GRIOJNAN. 243 

upon that subject in my last letter. It rests with you, my 
dear, to set me right, and I beg you will do so, for I do not 
lov r e to view things in a wrong light. 

Madame de la Fayette has written me word that you were 
an angel of beauty at court, that you spoke to the king, and 
that it was thought you were soliciting a pension for your 
husband. I returned a slight answer, " that I believed it was 
to entreat his majesty to consider the great expenses M. de 
Grignan had been obliged to incur in Provence," and that was 
all. 

You relate inimitably the story of M. de Villequier and his 
mother-in-law. There seems no danger of her proving a Phae- 
dra to him. Had you read that part of your letter over, you 
would easily have conceived the manner in which it struck 
me. It is not unlike the story of Joconde ; and the chamber- 
maid yawning with fatigue at her Jong waiting is admirable. 
I think Madame d'Aumont's conduct very praiseworthy : it 
ought to silence the world, and satisfy her husband. What 
great doings in Savoy ! I can not believe the king will with- 
hold his pity and assistance from the young Princess of Baden, 
when she represents to him the situation of her mother, aban- 
doned by all her children. I do not believe she will set out 
till her mother is gone. This good mother, it is true, has so 
much fire about her, that it is difficult to persuade one's self 
she is not still in the prime of her youth. The Princess de 
Tarente intends to receive her at Vitre. As for Madame de 
Marbeuf, she is one of her old acquaintance ; they have spent 
whole winters together in supping and playing at the Palace 
of Soissons ; you may judge how readily this will be renewed 
at Rennes. I have told my son the story of the Chevalier de 
Soisson's engagement : we could neither of us have believed 
the eyes of a grandmother retained still so much power. I do 
not think the raising of the siege of Buda* worth mentioning 

* After having beaten the Turks, and repulsed the troops they were 
leading to the assistance of Buda, the Duke of Lorraine was at length 
obliged to raise the siege, which had lasted for nearly four months. 



244 LETTERS TO 

to you ; it is a piece of news hardly of sufficient consequence 
to obtain a place in my letter. I fancy the dauphiness,* how- 
ever, will take the pains to be sorry : her brother has exposed 
himself so much, and acquitted himself so well in this expedi- 
tion, that it is a pity such an elector should be obliged to re- 
turn from it. 

Our worthy is very ill with one of those bad colds and 
coughs which you have seen him afflicted with. He is in his 
little closet. We take better care of him here than could be 
done at Paris. My daughter-in-law has gone through all the 
hot and cold regimen of the Capuchins, without being affected 
either one way or the other by them. When the weather is 
fine, as it has been for the last three days, I venture out about 
two o'clock, and walk backward and forward before the gard- 
eners, who are cutting wood, and representing the picture of 
winter, but without stopping to contemplate the scene ; and 
after I have enjoyed all the heat of the sun, I return to the 
house, leaving the evening to those of a more hardy constitu- 
tion. In this way do I govern myself to please you, and very 
often I do not stir out of the house at all. Coulanges' chair, 
a few books that my son reads admirably, and now and then a 
little conversation, will compose the whole of my occupation 
during the winter, and the subject of your anxiety ; for I shall 
exactly follow your orders in all points, and every where. 

My son understands perfectly well what Wednesday means.f 
To say the truth, we would be very dull without him, and he 
without us ; but he manages matters so well that there is gen- 
erally a party of ombre in my apartments, and at intervals we 
read, and make comments on what we read ; you know what 
sort of place the Rocks is. We have read a folio volume 
through in little more than a week. We have been engaged 

* The dauphiness was always a German in her heart ; this partiality, 
which the subsequent war increased and rendered more offensive, con- 
tributed, with other eccentricities of character, to alienate the affection! 
of her husband, the king, and the whole court. 

f This was one of Madame de Sevigne's post-days. 



MADAME DE ORIGNAN. 245 

with M. Nicole, the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert, and 
the History of the Reformation in England ; in short, those 
who are happy enough to have a taste for rea< 
be at a loss for amusement. 



LETTER XCL 




The Rocks, Sunday, February 2?J~1685. 

Ah, my child ! was ever any thing so ill-timed as the death 
of the King of England,* just at the eve of a masquerade ? 
My poor little marquis f is very unfortunate to have such an 
unexpected event thrown in the way of his pleasure. I know 
nothing that can comfort him for this disappointment but the 
universal encomiums that have been given to his charming 
dress, and the hope that the masquerade is only put off for a 
time. 

My dear child, I make you my compliments of condolence 
on these great occurrences, and expect yours in return upon 
my mistaken ideas ; for I was at the masquerade, the opera, 
and the ball, snug in a corner, contemplating you with admi- 
ration ; in short, I was in as great an agitation as you may 
suppose your poor mother to experience on such an occasion ; 
and, after all, there was no entertainment of any kind. 

I enter into your sentiments, my beautiful dear, better than 
any one. Yes, yes, I can very well conceive that we are 
transfused into our children, and, as you say, feel more keenly 
for them than for ourselves. I have sufficiently experienced 
these emotions, which are not without their pleasure when the 
object is deserving of them and of the admiration of every 
one besides. Your son pleases extremely ; there is something 
inexpressibly smart and agreeable in his countenance ; the eye 
does not pass lightly over him as over others in general, but 

* Charles II., who died 16th February, 1685. 
f Louis-Provence, Marquis de Grignan, Madame de Sevigne's grand? 
son. 



246 LETTERS TO 

rests attentively. Madame de la Fayette tells me she has 
written to Madame de Montespan that she had engaged her 
honor that you and your son would have reason to be satisfied 
with her. I know no one who would be more happy to serve 
you than Madame de la Fayette. 

But is it not extraordinary that we have not yet had a word 
together on the death of the King of England ? He was by 
no means an old man, and he was a monarch ; this shows that 
death spares no one. It will be a great happiness if he was a 
Catholic in his heart, and died in the faith of our holy reli- 
gion. England appears to me a theater that is about to fur- 
nish some very extraordinary scenes : the Prince of Orange, 
the Duke of Monmouth, an infinite number of Lutherans, and a 
confirmed aversion to all Catholics ; but time will discover in 
what way Providence will direct the performance, after this 
tragical event ;* however, it seems it will not put a stop to 
the diversion at Versailles, since I find you are to return there 

* Charles IT. was sixty-five years of age, and had reigned about 
twenty-five years, reckoning from the restoration of the Stuarts. He 
received the sacraments agreeably to the rites of the Church of Rome, 
but more, it is said, in compliance with the entreaties of his brother 
than the dictates of his conscience. He had some good private quali- 
ties. But, as a prince, his character, says the impartial Hume, was 
" dangerous to his subjects, and dishonorable to himself." To rid him- 
self of his parliament, he had placed himself in a state of disgraceful 
independence on Louis XIV. It has been said of him that he never 
said a foolish thing, and never did a wise one. Judging by the follow- 
ing anecdote, he carried further even than policy required, the practice 
of dissimulation, which would be, as it is declared, the necessary vir- 
tue of kings, if it be true that weakness and indolence are their natural 
vices. It is said that Charles II. having reproached his minister 
Shaftesbury with being " the greatest knave in the three kingdoms," 
he replied, "Apparently your majesty only includes subjects." 

Madame de Sevigne speaks of the state of England in the character 
of a well-informed person. The rebellion of Monmouth and his tragi- 
cal end in the same year, and James II. dethroned and driven out of 
the kingdom three years afterward by his son-in-law, justified but too 
well her predictions. 



MADAME DE GEIGNAN. 247 

on Monday. You say a thousand kind things of the concern 
it would give you to leave me behind at Paris, if I were there , 
but as this, to my great regret, is not the case, make the most 
of this opportunity, follow the court : no one is formed to 
make a better figure there, and I think every thing seems to 
tend toward the completion of your wishes. Mine, though 
made at such a distance, are not less ardent and sincere than 
if I were with you. I feel, though less delicately, the truth 
of a remark you made to me one day, and which I then 
laughed at : that you were so much mistress of my imagina- 
tion and my heart that I had you always present with me ; 
this is very true, my child, but I must own I had rather enjoy 
a little more of reality. 



LETTER XCn. 

The Rocks, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 1685. 

You see, my dear, that we are now come to reckon by 
days only, not by months ! not even by weeks ! But, alas ! 
what you say is very true : there could not be a more cruel 
damp to our pleasures than the thought that we might be 
obliged to part again almost as soon as we met ; this is a pain- 
ful idea ; it occurs to me but too often ; day or night I am not 
free from it ; it came in my head the last time I was writing to 
you, and I could not forbear saying to myself, Surely this evil 
ought to be sufficient to secure me from the danger of expe- 
riencing a greater ; but I dare not dwell upon this melancholy 
reflection, and shall now divert it by the thought that I am 
soon to see you at Baville. I shall not be at all ashamed of 
my equipage ; my children have very elegant ones, and I have 
had the same ; but now the times are altered ; I have only 
two horses of my own, and shall hire four horses from the 
postmaster of Mans ; and in that manner I shall make my 
entrance into Paris without the least concern. You will find 
my leg in a state of perfection, which will make you love 



248 LETTERS TO 

Charlotte all your life ; she has fancied you from hence more 
beautiful than the day, and this idea has given her an extreme 
desire to restore this leg to you, worthy of your admiration, 
when you know from what a situation it has been extricated. 
All this is past, and so is the visit of little Coulanges ; he set 
out on Monday morning with your brother. I accompanied 
them as far as the gate that leads to Vitre ; there we stopped 
to await the arrival of your letters from Paris, which came as 
expected, and were read with the usual pleasure. As you only 
mentioned that M. d'Ormesson's wife was at the point of 
death, I have not dared to write to him ; but as soon as you 
let me know she is buried, I will venture to send him a line or 
two by way of condolence and comfort ; but indeed, consider- 
ing the state she was in, what could be more desirable for her- 
self and her family than her death ? Ah, my dear child, how 
humiliating it is to be obliged to drag about the lees of life 
and understanding ! how much preferable would it be, could 
we have our wish, to leave behind us a remembrance worthy 
of being preserved, rather than spoil and disfigure it by the in- 
firmities and weakness of old age ! I should like to be an 
inhabitant of that country where they kill their parents out 
of kindness, when they become old and helpless, if such a 
practice could be reconciled to Christianity. 

Our gentlemen sung Guadeamus on Monday evening at 
Marbeufs. Your brother is not quite recovered of his slight 
disorder. I have had some delightful conversations with Cou- 
langes on the subject he is so much at a loss to comprehend : 
scenes have passed between us not inferior to some of Moliere's. 
When do you expect Saint Grignan f 

KB. Ko more letters are found from Madame de Sevigne to her 
daughter till toward the end of 1688, both having passed the interme- 
diate time together at Paris. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 249 



LETTER XCIII. 



Paris, Friday, October 8, 1688. 

What a tremendous rain, just, my child, as you are going 
to descend that frightful mountain of Rochepot ! How num- 
berless are the vexations of those who love with any degree of 
fervor ! We know not how to love heroically, notwithstand- 
ing the example of heroism below :* but there is no knowing 
you without being attached to you with the greatest tender- 
ness. Our poor hero is still dreadfully afflicted with the gout ; 
it is a perfect martyrdom. There are several persons of wit 
and learning, as St. Romain,f the Abbe Bigorre, Crosailles,J 
who visit him with a view to divert his painful moments with 
the news of the day, and other topics; but still he suffers 
greatly. 

Our young marquis could not have been at the opening of 
the trenches, for M. de Vauban could not wait the arrival of 
the dauphin on account of the rains ; we are still persuaded 
that in a very few days your mind will be at ease. 

The Prince of Orange has declared himself protector of the 
religion of the Church of England, and has demanded the 
young prince,§ that he may be brought up in that faith. This 
is a great event : several of the English nobility have joined 
him. You know that La Trousse has taken Avignon. || Mad- 
ame de Coulanges, who overflows with money, has lent 

* Meaning the Chevalier de Grignan, who had an apartment in the 
Hotel de Carnavalet, Madame de Sevigne's house at Paris. 

f St. Romain had been embassador in Switzerland. 

% Brother of Marshal de Catinet, and a man of great merit. He had 
been captain of the French guards, but had quitted the service on ac- 
count of ill health. 

§ James, Prince of Wales, son of James II., born the 20th June, 
1688 ; but better known afterward by the name of the Pretender. 

| Some disputes that had happened between the court of France and 

that of Rome had obliged Louis XIV. to sieze upon the county of 

Venaissin, belonging to the pope. 

11* 



250 LETTERS TO 

Mademoiselle de Meri a thousand francs ; we expect that 
lady here every day. M. de la Trousse (her brother) will very 
readily repay the loan. 

I am much pleased, my dear child, that you approve the 
coming of the good Abbe de Bigorre ; his company will 
prove no small amusement to me. We entertain ourselves 
below stairs with frequent conversations upon the state of our 
affairs ; I find there all the consolation that a sound under- 
standing and a generous heart can afford me ; for the more 
the chevalier is known the more he must be esteemed and 
loved. I have no need to ask him if you love me ; for I am 
convinced of it by a thousand instances : but without ques- 
tioning him upon the subject, he gave me the most charming 
proofs of it. We eat together, and keep a- very good table. 
The philosophy of Corbinelli is to come to-night. We have 
written in all our apartments, Fais ce que tu voudras ; vive la 
sainte liberte/* 

I have seen Madame de Fontenilles : she ha$ lately lost her 
mother, and seems overwhelmed with grief. You will judge 
what impression this made upon me. Her mother died in a 
shocking way, crying out in all the agonies of despair, and 
terrified with the thought of taking the last sacraments : she 
received them, however, but with a gloomy and dreadful si- 
lence. Her son and Alliot arrived just two hours after her 
death. 



LETTER XCIV. 



Paris, Tuesday, October 26, 1688. 
Oh ! what a letter, my child ! It well deserves that I should 
come here on purpose to receive it, as I did. At length, then, you 
are arrived safe at Grignan, and are in perfect health ; and such 
is my fate that, though you are removed at the distance of hall 
the globe from me, I must rejoice at it. Perhaps it may 

* Do as you like : reign, sacred Liberty ! 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 251 

please Heaven that ere long I shall embrace you again : let 
me live in that hope. You make a very pleasing portrait of 
Paulina. I know her again ; she is not at all altered, as M. de 
Grignan would have made us believe she was. She is a sweet 
creature, and worthy of being loved. She adores you, and 
her absolute submission to your will, even in the midst of her 
joy at seeing you, if you decide that she should leave you 
again, at once engages my pity and concern ; nor can I help 
admiring the power she has over herself. Were I in your 
place I should be loth to part with such an agreeable com- 
panion, who will at once furnish you with amusement and oc- 
cupation. I would make her work at her needle, and read 
works of taste : I would argue with her, and sound the depth 
of her capacity. I would talk to her with affection and con- 
fidence ; for, believe me, you will never be tired of her society, 
on the contrary, she may be of great use to you. In short, I 
would make the most of her, and would not punish myself by 
depriving myself of such a comfort. 

I am very glad the chevalier speaks well of me ; my vanity 
is concerned in preserving his good opinion. If he is fond of 
my company, I, in return, can never have too much of his, 
and I think it a proof of good taste to be desirous of cultivat- 
ing his esteem. I know not how you can say that your hu- 
mor is a cloud which hides or obscures the affections you have 
for me. If such may have been the case formerly, you have 
for many years past totally removed the vail, and you no 
longer conceal from me any part of the most perfect and tender 
affection that one person can entertain for another. Heaven 
will reward you for it in your own children, who will love 
you, not in the same way, as perhaps they may not be capable 
of it, but at least to the utmost of their abilities, and we can 
desire no more. 



252 LETTERS TO 

LETTER XCV. 
Paris, All-Saints' day, 1688, nine o'clock at night. 
Philipsburg is taken, and your son is well I I have only 
tc turn this phrase in every possible way, for I will not change 
my text. Learn then again from this note, that your son is 
well, and that Philipsburg is taken/ A courier is just ar- 
rived at M. de Villacerf's, who says that the dauphin's courier 
reached Fontainebleau while Father Gaillard was preaching ; 
and that the sermon was immediately interrupted, and thanks 
returned to God for this brilliant achievement. No further 
particulars are known, except that there was no assault, and 
that M. du Plessis was right when he said the governor had 
ordered wagons to carry away his equipage. Recover your 
breath, then, my dear child, and let the first thing you do be 
to return thanks to God. No other siege is talked of; rejoice 
that your son has witnessed that of Philipsburg ; it is an ad- 
mirable period for him ; it is the dauphin's first campaign. 
Would you not have been grieved if he was the only person 
of his age who was not present on the occasion, in which all 
the rest glory? But let us not look back;" every thing has 
happened as we could have wished. It is you, my dear count, 
we may thank for it. I congratulate you on the joy you must 
experience, and beg my compliments also to the coadjutor ; 
you are all relieved from great anxiety. Sleep soundly, then, 
my dearest, sleep soundly on the assurance we give you ; if 
you are covetous of grief, as we formerly said, seek some other 
occasion, for God has preserved your dear child to you. We 
are in raptures, and in this feeling I embrace you with an af- 
fection that I believe you can not doubt. 



LETTER XCVI. 

Paris. Monday, November 8, 1688 
This is the day, my dear child, on which you are to begin 
your journey ; we follow you step by step. The weather is 



MADAME DE QRIGNAN. 253 

delightful ; the durance will not be so terrific as it sometimes 
is. It looks as if you were resolved to remove further and 
further from us out of mere spite ; you will find yourself at 
last on the sea-shore. But it is the will of God that we 
should meet with periods in our life which are difficult to 
bear ; and we must endeavor to repair, by a submission to his 
will, the too great sensibility we feel toward earthly things. 
Ju this respect it is impossible to be more culpable than I am. 
The chevalier is much better. It is painful to reflect that 
the weather which agrees with him is precisely what may 
dethrone the King of England ; whereas he suffered dreadfully 
a few days ago, when the wind and tempests were dispersing 
the fleet of the Prince of Orange : he is unhappy at not being 
able to make his health accord with the good of Europe ; for 
the sentiment of joy is universal at the failure of the prince, 
whose wife* is a perfect Tullia ; ah, how boldly would she 
drive over the body of her father ! She has empowered her 
husband to take possession of the kingdom of England, of 
which she calls herself the heiress; and if her husband is 
killed, for her imagination is not very delicate, M. de Schom- 
bergf is to take possession of it for herself. What say you to 
a hero, who so sadly disgraces the close of a glorious life ? 
He saw the admiral's ship sink in which he was to have ein- 

* Mary Stuart, daughter of James II., king of England, and wife of 
"William Henry of Nassau, Prince of Orange, afterward king of Eng- 
land by the name of William III. Tullia, the daughter of Servius Tul- 
lius, king of Rome, caused her chariot to drive over the bleeding body 
of her father, who had just been assassinated. 

f Frederic Armand, Count de Schomberg, marshal of France, ob- 
tained permission to retire from the king's service in 1 685, on account 
of his having embraced the Protestant religion. He was minister of 
state, and generalissimo of the armies of the Elector of Brandenbourg, 
and went over to England in 1688 with the Prince of Orange. 

Marshal de Schomberg had ancient leagues with the Princes of Orange. 
He had, besides, much cause to complain of the court, and even of Tu- 
renne, during the war with Holland. See a curious account of this 
general in the Fragmens Historiques de Racine, 



254 LETTERS TO 

barked ; and as the prince and he were the last in following 
the fleet, which was under weigh in the finest weather pos- 
sible, they were obliged, by a tremendous storm that suddenly 
arose, to return to port, the prince being very much indis- 
posed with his asthma, and M. de Schomberg as much vexed. 
Only twenty-six sail returned with them; the rest were all 
dispersed, some toward Norway, others toward Boulogne. 
M. d'Aumont has sent a courier to the king, to inform him that 
vessels had been seen at the mercy of the winds, and that 
there were many appearances of shipwreck. A vessel armed 
enjlute, in which were nine hundred men, sunk in sight of 
the prince of Orange. In short, the hand of God is visible 
upon this fleet : many ships may return, but it will be long 
before they will be able to do any mischief, for the dispersion 
has certainly been great, and has happened at a time when it 
was least expected : this is certainly a stroke of Providence. 
I need not say so much to you of this great news, for the 
papers are full of it ; but as we are so too, and as we can talk 
of nothing else, it flows naturally from my pen. 

Shall I give you another instance of wounds that were not 
received at the siege of Philipsburg ? It relates to the Chev- 
alier de Longueville : the town was taken ; the dauphin had 
just inspected the garrison, the little chevalier mounted the 
back of the trenches to look at something, when, a soldier, 
aiming at a woodcock, shot this poor child, and he died in 
consequence the next day : his death is as singular as his 
birth* 



LETTER XCVII. 



Paris, Friday, December 3, 1688. 
I have to inform you to-day that the king made yes- 
terday seventy-four knights of the order of the Holy Ghost, 

* Charles-Louis d'Orleans, natural son of Charles Paris d'Orleans, 
Duke of Longueville, killed in crossing the Rhine in 1672. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 255 

of which I send you the list. As he has done M. de Grignan 
the honor to include him, and as you will receive a hundred 
thousand congratulations upon the occasion, wiser heads than 
mine advise you neither to say nor write any thing that may 
give offense to any of your companions in this honor. The 
best way, perhaps, would be to write to M. de Louvois, and 
to say that the honor he had done you of inquiring after you 
by your courier gives you the privilege of thanking him ; and 
that wishing to believe, on the subject of the favor the king 
has just granted to M. de Grignan, that he has contributed 
toward it by his approbation at least, you return him thanks 
also for this. You will give this a better turn than I can do ; 
and it will do no injury to the letter M. de Grignan should 
write. The particulars of what passed are these : The king 
said to M. le Grand :* " The count de Soissonsf and you must 
n agree among yourselves with respect to rank." You must 
know, that M. le Grand's son is in the promotion, which is 
contrary to the general rules. You must know, also, that the 
king said to the dukes that he had read their memorial, and that 
he found that the house of Lorraine had taken precedence of 
them on several occasions ; and so it is decided.^ M. le 
Grand then spoke to the Cotrnt de Soissons ; they proposed to 
draw lots, " provided," said the count, " that if you win I 
pass between you and your son."§ M. le Grand would not 
consent to this, and so the Count de Soissons is not a chev- 
alier. The king asked M. de la Tremouille how old he was ? 
he replied that he was thirty-three ; the king excused him 
two years. This favor, it is said, which has given some of- 
fense to the principality, has not been estimated as it ought 

* Louis de Lorraine, Count d'Armagnac, first equerry of France. 

\ Louis Thomas de Savoy, Count de Soissons. 

% It is related that the Duke of Luxembourg said aloud upon this 
subject : " There is one thing I can not comprehend." " And what ia 
that ?" said the king. " How a Bourbon can look upon a Guise." 

§ Henry de Lorraine, Count de Brionne. 



256 LETTERS TO 

to have been. However, he is the first duke, according to 
the precedence of his dukedom.* 



LETTER XCVIII. 



Paris, Monday, December 6, 1688. 
Your last letter has an air of gayety and expansion of heart 
which convinces me that Franckendal is taken, and that he is 
safe, I mean the marquis. Enjoy this pleasure, my beloved 
child ; your son sleeps to-night at Claie ; you see he will pass 
through Livri, and to-morrow he will sup with us. The chev- 
alier, who is indeed an excellent creature in all respects, is re- 
turned from Versailles ; he has thanked the king, and it has 
all passed off well. You will assume the blue ribbon on the 
second of January in the midst of Provence, over which you 
have the command, and where there are only you and M. 
d' Aries your uncle. This distinction and remembrance of his 
majesty, when you the least expected it, are highly gratifying ; 
even the compliments you receive on all sides are not like 
those which are paid to others ; it is to little purpose to say, 
" Ah this ! ah that !" for my parij I say on this subject, as on 
many others, " What is good, is good ;" you will lose nothing ; 
and when we think of those who are in despair, we consider 
ourselves very fortunate to be in the recollection of a master 
who does not forget the services that are rendered him both 
by ourselves and our children. I own to you I feel this joy 
thoroughly, without appearing to do so. The chevalier has a 
great desire to send word of it this evening to our marquis at 
Claie, who will not be insensible to it. He wishes also to send 
you your blue ribbon with two Saint Esprits, because the time 
draws on : he believes you to have your grandfather'sf cross 

* Messieurs de la Tremouille had the highest rauk at court, as being 
the eldest dukes, and Messieurs d'Usez the highest rank in the parlia- 
ment as being the eldest peers. 

f Louis Castellane de Adhemar de Monteil, received knight of the 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN, 257 

at Grignan ; if you have not, you would be at a loss for one. 
I own tbat if the chevalier had not forestalled me, I should 
have made you this pretty little present ; but I give place to 
him in every thing. The favor is complete by the permission 
of not attending the installation. I am charged with a hun- 
dred compliments; Madame de Lesdiguieres, Madame de 
Mouci, Madame de Lavardin, M. de Harlai, and I know not 
how many others I could name ; for they are in long lists, as 
when you gained your lawsuit. Think not, my dear child, 
that you have been out of luck for the last three months ; I 
begin with your gaining your cause ; then the preservation of 
your son ; his early reputation ; his contusion ; the beauty of 
his company, to which you contributed ; and I conclude with 
the business of Avignon and the blue ribbon : think well o^ 
this, and be thankful to God. 



LETTER XCIX. 

Paris, Friday, December 10, 1688. 
I can not answer your letters to-day, as they came so late, 
and I answer two on a Monday. The marquis* is a little rus- 
tic, but not enough so to render him ridiculous ; he will not 
have so fine a figure as his father, nor is it to be expected ; in 
other respects he does very well, answering pertinently to every 
thing that is asked him, like a man of good sense, who has 
made observations and sought information during his cam- 
paign ; his conversation is tinctured with modesty and recti- 
tude that charm us. M. du Plessis is worthy of the esteem 
you bear him. We take our meals together very socially, 
amusing ourselves with the unjust proceedings we sometimes 
adopt against one another; make yourself easy upon this 
score, and think no more about it ; let it be my part to blush 

king's orders in 1584, lieutenant-general of the government of Prov 
ence, was M. de Grignan's great-grandfather. 
* The son of Madame de Grignan. 



258 LETTERS TO 

at thinking that a wren is a heavy burden to me : I own I am 
grieved at it, but we must submit to the great justice of pay- 
ing our debts : no one understands this better than yourself ; 
you have also kindness enough for me to believe that I am not 
naturally avaricious, and that I have no intention to hoard. 
When you are here, good madam, you tutor your son so well, 
that I am compelled to admire you ; but, in your absence, I 
undertake to teach him the common rules of conversation, 
which it is important to know; there are some things of 
which we ought not to be ignorant. It would be ridiculous to 
appear astonished at certain events which are the topics of the 
day ; I am sufficiently acquainted with these trifles. I also 
strongly recommend to him attention to what others say, and 
the presence of mind by which we quickly comprehend and 
answer ; this is a principal object in our intercourse with the 
world. I repeat to him instances of miracles of this kind 
which Dangeau related to us the other day; he admires 
them, and I lay great stress upon the charms, and even utility, 
of this sort of alertness of mind. In short, I obtain the chev- 
alier's approbation : we converse together on books, and the 
misfortune of being troubled with listlessness and want of em- 
ployment : we call this laziness of the mind, which deprives 
us of a taste for good books and even romances ; as this is an 
interesting subject, we frequently enter upon it. Little Au- 
vergne* is very fond of reading ; he was never happy, when 
with the army, unless he had a book in his hand. God knows 
whether M. du Plessis and we can turn this fine and noble 
passion to account ; we are willing to believe the marquis sus- 
ceptible of the best impressions ; we suffer no opportunity to 
pass unimproved that can tend to inspire him with so desirable 
a taste. The chevalier is of more use to this dear boy than 
can easily be imagined; he is continually striking the full 
chords of honor and reputation, and takes an interest in his 

* Francis-Egon de la Tour, Prince of Auvergne, who quitted the 
French army in 1702, in which he served in Germany, to enter into 
the service of the emperor. 



MADAME DE GRIGSAN. ^59 

affairs, for which you can not sufficiently thank him : he enters 
into every thing, attends to every thing, and wishes the mar- 
quis to regulate his own accounts and incur no unnecessary 
expenses ; by this means, he endeavors to give him a habit of 
regularity and economy, and to make him lay aside the air of 
grandeur, of " what does it signify," of ignorance, and indiffer- 
ence, which is the direct path to every kind of injustice, and, 
at length, to the workhouse : can there be any obligation 
equal to that of training up your son in these principles ? For 
my part, I am charmed with it, and think this sort of educa- 
tion far more noble than any other. The chevalier is a little 
afflicted with the gout : he will go to-morrow, if he can, to 
Versailles, and will inform you of the situation of his affairs. 
You already know that you are a knight of the order, which 
is a very desirable thing in the center of your province, and 
in actual service, and will admirably become M. de Grignan's 
fine figure : there will, however, be no one to dispute it with 
him in Provence, for he will not be envied by his uncle,* as 
this title does not go out of the family. 

La Fayette is just going from hence ; he has been holding 
forth a full hour about one of the little marquis's friends. He 
has related so many ridiculous things of him that the cheva- 
lier thinks himself obliged to mention them to his father, who 
is his friend ; he thanked La Fayette for his intelligence, for, 
in fact, there is nothing of so much consequence as being in 
good company, and it often happens that, without being 
ridiculous ourselves, we are rendered so by those we associate 
with. Make yourself easy upon this subject, the chevalier will 
set matters right. I shall be very much mortified if he can 
not present his nephew on Sunday ; this gout is a great draw- 
back upon our happiness. With respect to Paulina, can you, 
my dear child, expect her to be perfect ? She is not mild in 
her own apartment ; many persons who are very much be- 
loved and respected, have had the same fault. I think you 

* The archbishop of Aries was commander of the royal orders o** 
knighthood. 



260 LETTERS TO 

may easily correct it ; but take particular care not to scold and 
humiliate her. All my friends load me with a thousand com 
pliments and a thousand regards to you. Madame de Lavar- 
din called upon me yesterday, to tell me she esteemed you too 
highly to send you compliments ; but that she embraced you 
with all her heart, and the great Count de Grignan — these 
were her words. You have great reason to love her. 

What I am going to relate is a fact. Madame de Brinon, 
the very soul of St. Cyr, and the intimate friend of Madame 
de Maintenon, is no longer at St. Cyr ;* she quitted that place 
four days ago ; Madame Hanover, who loves her, brought her 
back to the Hotel de Guise, where she still remains. There 
does not seem to be any misunderstanding between her and 
Madame de Maintenon, for she sends every day to inquire after 
her health ; this increases our curiosity to know the subject of 
her disgrace. Every one is whispering about it without know- 
ing more. If this affair should be cleared up, I will inform 
you of the circumstances. 



LETTER C. 

Paris, Friday, Decemer 31, 1688. 
Per torner dunque al nostro proposito,\ I must tell you, my 
child, that all the uncertainties of the day before yesterday, 

* Madame de Brinon, at that time of the first establishment of St. 
Cyr, was placed at the head of that house. She had great learning and 
talents, but an equal portion of pride and ambition. The superior only 
of the house, she assumed the airs of an abbess. She displayed the 
most offensive ostentation ; she held a court ; she opposed Madame de 
Maintenon, whose dependent she was. These things offended the 
king, as well as her benefactress. A lettre de cachet obliged her to 
leave St. Cyr in twenty-four hours. 

The Duchess of Hanover, who received her, and who was the daugh- 
ter of the celebrated princess palatine, was soon disgusted with Madame 
de Brinon, who retired to the Abbey of Maubuisson, and died there, re- 
gretting the world, regretting St. Cyr, and regretting life. 

f To return then to our proposition. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 261 

which seemed to be fixed by the assurances M. de Lamoignon 
gave us that the King of England was at Calais, are now 
changed into the certainty that he is detained in England ; 
and that if this ill fortune has not befallen him, he has per- 
ished ; for he was to make his escape, and embark a few hours 
after the queen. So, that though we have no certain intelli- 
gence of his being arrested, there is not a single person who 
does not now credit it. Such is our situation ; and such the 
way in which we are closing the present year, and entering 
upon that of '89 ; a year marked out by extraordinary pre- 
dictions, as pregnant with great events. Not one, however, 
will take place that is not agreeable to the order of Provi- 
dence, like all our actions, and all our journeyings. We must 
submit to every thing, and look boldly in the face of futurity ; 
this is going a great way. 

In the mean while, count, I address myself to you. Yes- 
terday the Knights of St. Michael went through the ceremony 
with several of those of the order of the Holy Ghost, at the 
hour I mentioned to you after vespers, and to-morrow the rest 
will do the same. The chevalier will inform you how it is 
managed with respect to the absentees. You must make 
your profession of faith, and give an account of your life and 
manners. Of this you will be duly informed ; you are not 
the only one ; and in the mean time hold off, fair and softly. 
Yesterday, M. de Chevreuse, of the order of St. Michael, 
passed before M. de la Rochefoucault, who said to him, " Sir, 
you pass before me, which you have no right to do." M. de 
Chevreuse replied, " Sir, I have a right, for I am Duke de 
Luynes." " Oh, sir," rejoined the other, " in this respect I 
yield to you." The gazette will inform you, my dear count, 
that M. de Luynes has given this duchy to his son, with the 
king's permission ; and M. de Chevreuse, who will hencefor- 
ward be called M. de Luynes, the duchy of Chevreuse to his 
son, who will be styled Duke de Montfort. Your son's com- 
rades are highly distinguished by titles. It is said that some 
troops are to be sent into Brittany with M. de Momont, Major- 



262 LETTERS TO 

General, to be under the command of M. de Chauln:«s ; there 
will be encampments in all the provinces. You need only 
refer to the map, to judge whether we have occasion to be on 
our guard on all sides ; cast your eyes for a moment over all 
Europe. Madame de Barillon is very uneasy respecting her 
husband ;* but it is said at random, for no letters arrive, that 
lie is safe, though the chapel of the King of England has been 
pulled down, as well as that belonging to the embassador's 
household. Time will clear up all this. But who am I 
speaking to ? is it still to this count ? My dear child, your 
good lady, who swore she would not touch a card till the 
King of England had won a battle, will not probably play 
again for a long time. Poor woman ! The Prince of Orange 
is in London — this is still the subject of my letter, as it is of 
all conversation, for every one considers himself as concerned 
in this great scene. The queen is still in a convent at Bou- 
logne, always in tears at the absence of her husband, whom 
she passionately loves. 

Madame de Brinon is quite forgotten. A new comedy is 
said to be in rehearsal, which is to be represented at St. Cyr, 
and is called Esther. The carnival does not promise to be 
very gay. My son's letters are constantly filled with the most 
affectionate sentiments for you and M. de Grignan. We ex- 
pect your letters, but probably shall not answer them till Mon- 
day. The chevalier and I have very long conversations about 
you ; he is tolerably well, and when your son returns from 
Chalons, he intends to accompany him to Versailles. The 
good Corbinelli exhausts his rhetoric upon the present situa- 
tion of affairs, and at the same time adores you. Adieu, my 
lovely child ; I embrace you a thousand times, and wish you a 
happy year in that of 1689. 

* M. de Barillon was the French Embassador to England. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 263 

LETTER CI. 

Paris, Monday, January 3, 1689. 
Your dear son arrived this morning. We were delighted 
to see him and M. du PleSsis ; we were at dinner when they 
came, and they ate very heartily of our repast, which was al- 
ready somewhat impaired. Oh, that you could have heard all 
the marquis said of the beauty of his company ! He first asked 
if the company was arrived ; and on the question, whether it 
was a fine one, this was the answer he received : " Indeed, sir, 
it is ; it is one of the finest that ever was seen ; it is an old 
company, and more to be prized than the new ones? You 
may guess the effect such an encomium must have on a person 
who was not known to be the captain. Our boy was in rap- 
tures the next day at the sight of his noble company mounted ; 
the men, made on purpose, as it were, and selected by you, 
and the horses .cast in the same mold, gave him such high 
spirits, that M. de Chalons* and Madame de Noailles (his 
mother) entered into his feelings of joy. He has been received 
by these pious persons as the son of M. de Grignan ; but why 
do I tell you all this ? it is the marquis' business. 



LETTER CII. 

Paris, Wednesday, January 5, 1689. 
I took the marquis with me yesterday ; we began by visiting 
M. de la Trousse, who was so obliging as to put on the dresses 
of the novice and professor, as on the ceremonial day ; these 
two habits set off a fine figure to advantage. A foolish 
thought, without considering consequences, made me regret 
that the fine shape of M. de Grignan had not shone upon this 
occasion. The page's dress is very becoming ; and I am not 

* Louis Antoine de Noailles, Bishop de Chalons sur Marne, after- 
ward Archbishop and Cardinal of Paris. 



264 LETTERS TO 

at all surprised that the Princess of Cleves should fall in love 
with M. de Nemours and his handsome legs.* The mantle 
has all the magnificence of royalty ; it cost La Trousse 800 
pistoles, for he purchased it. After having viewed this pretty 
masquerade, I took your son to all the ladies in the neighbor- 
hood. Madame de Vaubecourt and Madame Oilier received 
him with great politeness ; he will soon pay visits upon his 
own account. 

The Life of St. Louis has induced me to read Mezerai ; I 
was willing to take a view of the last kings of the second race, 
and I want to unite Philip de Valois with King John ; this is 
an admirable period of history, upon which the Abbe de Choisi 
has written a book that may be read with interest. We en- 
deavor to beat into your son's head the necessity of being a 
little acquainted with what has passed before his time ; and it 
will have effect ; but, in the mean while, there are many rea- 
sons for paying attention to what is passing at present. You 
will see by the news of to-day how the King* of England es- 
caped from London, apparently with the consent of the Prince 
of Orange. Politicians reason upon this subject, and ask if it 
be more advantageous for this king to be in France ; some say 
Yes, because he is here in security, and will not run the risk 
of being compelled to give up his wife and child, or lose his 
head ; others say No, because he leaves the Prince of Orange 
to enjoy the protectorship, and be adored, having made his 
way to it naturally, and without bloodshed. It is certain that 
war will soon be declared against us, or perhaps, even we may 
declare it first. If we make peace in Italy and Germany, we 
may apply ourselves with greater attention to the English and 
Dutch war; this is to be hoped, for it would be too much to 
have enemies on all sides. You see whither my rambling pen 
leads me ; but you may easily suppose that all conversations 
turn upon these great events. 

* Allusion to Madame de la Fayette's romance. 



MADAME DE 6RIGNAN. 265 

LETTER Cm. 

Paris, Monday, January 10, 1689. 

We often stumble upon the same ideas, my dear child ; [ 
even think that I wrote to you from the Rocks what you say 
in your last letter respecting time. I now consent that it 
should fly ; the days have no longer any thing so dear and 
precious for me as I found them to contain when you were at 
the Hotel de Carnavalet. I enjoyed, I made the most of every 
hour ; I treasured it as a miser does his gold ; but in absence, 
the case is different ; time can not fly fast enough till the 
wished-for period arrives ; we hurry it along, and would will- 
ingly dispose of all the intermediate space in favor of the days 
to which we aspire ; it is a piece of tapestry which we are 
eager to finish ; we are lavish of hours, and bestow them on 
any one. But I own that when I reflect on the point to 
which this profusion of hours and days leads me, I tremble. 
I am no longer certain of any, and reason presents me with 
the image of what I am certain to find in my way. My child, 
I will put an end to these reflections with you, and endeavor 
to turn them to my own advantage. 

The Abbe Tetu is in an alarming way for want of sleep. 
The physicians would not answer for his intellects. He is sen- 
sible of his situation, which is an additional calamity : he is 
kept alive merely by opium : he seeks for diversion and amuse- 
ment, and accordingly frequents public places. We want him 
to go to Versailles to see the King and Queen of England, and 
the Prince of Wales. Can there be a grander spectacle, or 
one more capable of affording the highest interest ? It appears 
that the Prince of Orange favored the king's flight. The king 
was sent to Exeter, where it was his intention to go ; the front 
of his house was well guarded, and all the back doors left 
open. The prince was not inclined to sacrifice his father-in- 
law. He remains in London in the place of the king, without 
taking upon himself the title, being only desirous of restoring 
what he thinks the true religion, and supporting the laws o/ 

12 



266 LETTERS TO 

the country, without spilling a drop of blood : this is precisely 
the reverse of what we thought of him ; we see him in a very 
different point of view. Our king, however, acts in a manner 
almost divine with respect to their Brittanic Majesties ; for is 
it not being the representative of the Almighty to support a 
king banished, betrayed, and abandoned ? The noble ambition 
of our sovereign is gratified by acting this part. He went to 
meet the queen, with all his household, and a hundred coaches 
and six. When he perceived the Prince of Wales's car- 
riage, he alighted and affectionately embraced him ; he then 
ran to the queen, who was by this time alighted ; he saluted 
her, talked with her some time, placed her at his right hand 
in his carriage, and presented the dauphin and monsieur to 
her, who were also in the carriage, and conducted her to St. 
Germain, where she found every thing prepared for her like a 
queen — all sorts of apparel, and a rich casket containing six 
thousand louis-d'ors. The King of England was expected the 
next day at St. Germain, where the king waited for him. He 
arrived late. His majesty went to the end of the guard-room 
to meet him ; the King of England made an inclination as if 
to embrace his knees, but the king prevented him, and em- 
braced him three or four times very cordially. They talked 
together in a low voice for nearly a quarter of an hour ; the 
king presented the dauphin and monsieur to him, the princes 
of the blood, and Cardinal de Bonzi. He conducted him to 
the queen's apartment, who could scarcely refrain from tears. 
After a conversation of a few minutes his majesty led them to 
the apartment of the Prince of Wales, where they again con- 
versed for some time, and he then withdrew, not choosing to 
be attended back, saying to the king, " This is your house ; 
when I come you will do the honors of it, and I will do the 
honors of mine when you come to Versailles." The next day, 
which was yesterday, the dauphiness went there with all the 
court. I know not how they regulated the chairs, for they 
had those belonging to the Queen of Spain ; and the Queen- 
mother of England was treated as a daughter of France : I 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 267 

shall hereafter send you these particulars. His majesty sent 
the King of England ten thousand louis-d'ors ; the latter looks 
old and fatigued; the queen is thin, with fine black eyes 
swelled with weeping ; a fine complexion, but rather pale ; a 
large mouth, beautiful teeth, a fine figure, and a great share of 
sense ; no wonder if with all these she pleases every one who 
beholds her. Here is matter for general conversation that 
will not soon be exhausted. 

The poor chevalier can neither write nor go to Versailles, 
which grieves us sadly, as he has a thousand things to do 
there ; but he is not ill : on Saturday he supped with Madame 
de Coulanges, Madame de Vauvineux, M. de Duras, and your 
son, at the lieutenant's, where the healths of the first and sec- 
ond were drank, that is to say, Madame de la Fayette's and 
yours, for you have yielded to the date of friendship. Yester- 
day Madame de Coulanges gave a very pretty supper to the 
gouty gentlemen, the Abbe de Marsillac, the Chevalier de 
Grignan, and M. de Lamoignon, whose nephritic complaints 
stood him in stead of the gout ; his wife and the divinities 
were admitted in consequence of colds which they are never 
without ; I in consideration of the rheumatism I had twelve 
years ago, and Coulanges, for deserving to have the gout. 
There was no scarcity of conversation ; the little man sung, 
and gave the Abbe de Marsillac great pleasure, which he 
expressed by his admiration, and by imitating the tones and man- 
ners, which reminded me so strongly of his father that I could 
not help being affected. Your son was at the Mesdemoiselles 
de Castelnau's. There is a younger sister, very pretty and very 
agreeable, who is quite to your son's taste, and he leaves the 
squint-eyed girl to Sanzei ; he took a hautboy with him, and 
they danced till midnight. This society is very pleasant to 
the marquis, as he meets St. Herein, Janin, Choiseul, and 
Ninon there ; so that he is not in a foreign country. The 
chevalier does not seem to be in haste to marry him, nor does 
M. de Lamoignon seem very desirous of marrying his daugh- 
ter. We can say nothing with respect to the marriage of M 



268 LETTERS TO 

de Mirepoix,* this is the work of M. de Montfort : people 
seem to be infatuated, or else their heads are turned, for they 
do not think as they used to do ; in short, this man seems im- 
pelled by his destiny, and what can be done in such a case ? 

M. de Lauzun is not gone back to England ; he has an 
apartment at Versailles, and is perfectly satisfied ; he has writ- 
ten to Mademoiselle to have the honor of seeing her, which 
has given her great offense. I have performed a master-piece ; 
T have been to visit Madame de Ricouart, who is lately re- 
turned, very well pleased at being a widow. You have 
nothing to do but appoint me to complete your acknowledg- 
ments, like your romances, do you recollect ? I thank the 
amiable Paulina for her letter ; I am confident her person 
would please me ; so she could then find no appellation for me 
but that of madam ?\ this is being very serious. Adieu, my 
dear child ; preserve your health, in other words, your beauty, 
which I so much admire. 



LETTER CIV. 



Paris, Wednesday, January 12, 1689. 
You retired then at five o'clock in the afternoon ; you drew 
king and queen at dinner ; you were in as good company as 

* G-aston John Baptist de Levis, Marquis de Mirepoix, married, Janu- 
ary 16, 1689, to Anne Charlotte Maria de Saint Nectaire, daughter of 
Henry Francis, Duke de la Ferte, and of Mary Gabriel Angelica de la 
Mothe Houdan court. 

f It must have been observed that the Marquis de Grignan followed 
this etiquette with his mother, which was the custom among persona 
of high rank, and particularly in the southern provinces, where the Ro- 
man laws gave fathers an absolute power over their children, which in- 
spired children with more respect than love, and exacted the forms of 
submission, even in the overflowings of the heart. Madame de Sevigne 
was averse to this false dignity, the most gloomy mask that love can 
assume ; and it has been seen that she even laughed at her (laughter, 
who, in speaking of her grandfather, had written to her, monsieur voi/rt 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 269 

at Paris. It will not be my fault if the archbishop (of Aix) 
does not know that you are satisfied with him ; I informed 
Madame de la Fayette of this the other day, who was much 
pleased with the information ; she enjoins you both to lay 
aside the spirit and way of thinking of Provence. But to 
come to the King and Queen of England. It is so extraordi- 
nary to have this court here, that it is the constant subject of 
conversation. The regulation of rank and precedency is to be 
attended to, in order to render life agreeable to those who are 
so unlikely to be restored. This the king said the other day, 
adding that the English king was the best man in the world ; 
that he should hunt with him ; that he should come to Marli 
and Trianon ; and that the courtiers should habituate them- 
selves to him. The King of England does not give his hand 
to the dauphin, and does not reconduct him. The queen has 
not kissed monsieur, who is offended at this ; she said to the 
king, " Tell me what you wish me to do ; if you would have me 
follow the French fashion, I will salute whom you please ; but 
it is not the custom in England to salute any one." She paid 
a visit to the dauphiness, who was ill, and who received her in 
bed. No one sits in England ; I believe the duchesses will 
follow the French fashion, and behave to her as they did to 
her mother-in-law.* We are greatly taken up with this new 
court. 

In the mean time, the Prince of Orange is in London, where 
he has imprisoned several lords ; he is severe, and will soon 
make himself hated. M. Schomberg is commander-in-chief in 
Holland, in the room of this prince, and his son is to have the 
reversion : so the mask is now completely thrown off. 

pere. Every one knows the humorous speech of the great Conde, be- 
fore a man who affected to say Monsieur and Madame in speaking of 
his relations : "Monsieur my groom, go and tell monsieur my coach- 
man, to put messieurs my horses to monsieur my coach." 

* Henrietta of France, daughter of Henry IV., and wife of Charles L 
King of England. 



270 LETTERS TO 

LETTER CV. 

Paris, Friday, January 14, 1689. 

I have dined, my dear child, and am now in the chevalier's 
apartment ; he is in his chair, with a thousand little aches and 
pains that fly about him. He has slept well ; but this con- 
finement affects his spirits, and vexes him exceedingly ; I too 
am grieved at it, as I know the ill consequences better than 
any one. It is very cold ; the thermometer is at the lowest 
degree ; our river is frozen ; it snows, freezes, and thaws at 
the same time ; there is no walking in the streets ; I keep to 
the house, and to the chevalier's chamber. If I could have an 
answer from you before the end of a fortnight, I would desire 
you to tell me whether I do not incommode him, by staying 
with him all day ; but as I have no time to lose, I put this 
question to himself, and I fancy he is not displeased at it. The 
weather is an additional cause of his illness ; it is not the sort 
he likes ; it is always unfavorable when it is extreme. 

M. de Gobelin is still at St. Cyr ; Madame de Brinon is at 
Maubuisson, where she will soon be tired ; she can never re- 
main long in a place ; she has made many agreements, and 
been in several convents ; her good sense does not screen her 
from this error. Madame de Maintenon is much pleased with 
the comedy* which she has made her young ladies of St. Cyr 

* It was the Superieure Brinon who first made the pensioners of St. 
Cyr perform pieces of her selection. They were ill chosen. Cinna, 
and afterward Andromache, were substituted in their room. But there 
was so much love in this last tragedy, and the young ladies played it so 
well, that it was not judged proper for their representation. This was 
what Madame de Maintenon wrote herself to Racine, at the same time 
desiring him to supply another poem, moral or historical. Racine hes- 
itated: he wished to please the court, but the public and posterity 
withheld him. He deemed it impossible to fill the frame that was given 
him, by a performance worthy of his music. Boileau, too, despaired of 
it. Racine thought of the subject of Esther ; and his friend considered 
it well judged, as it really was. This very Boileau, the severity of 
whose taste and character made him so much aspersed, gave, in hia 



MADAME DE 6RIGNAN. 271 

perform ; it will be a very fine piece according to report. 
She has paid a visit to the Queen of England, who, having 
made her wait a moment, said she was very sorry she had lost 
any time in seeing and conversing with her, and received her 
extremely well. Every one is pleased with this queen ; she 
has an excellent understanding. She said to the king, on see- 
ing him caress the Prince of Wales, who is a lovely child, "I 
formerly envied the happiness of my son, in not feeling his 
misfortunes ; but I now pity him, for being insensible to your 
majesty's caresses and kindness." All she says is proper and 
to the purpose ; but this is not the case with her husband : 
he has a great share of courage, but his understanding is not 
above the common standard ; he relates what has passed in 
England with an insensibility that excites the same feeling 
for himself. He is a good man,* and partakes of all the 
amusements of Versailles. The dauphiness does not intend 
to visit this queen ; she wants her right hand seat and chair 
of state, which can not be ; she will therefore be always in 
bed, when the queen visits her. Madame is to have an arm- 
chair upon the left hand, and the princesses of the blood are 
to visit with her ; before whom they have tabourets only. The 
duchesses will be upon the same footing as at the dauphiness's ; 
this is settled. The king, knowing that a king of France gave 
a Prince of Wales only a chair on the left hand, chooses that 
the King of England should treat the dauphin in the same 
manner, and precede him. He is to receive Monsieur without 
chair or ceremony. The queen has saluted him, saying to our 
sovereign what I told you. It is not yet certain that M. de 
Schomberg is to succeed the Prince of Orange in Holland. 
This is a year of falsehood. 

regard for Racine, the most perfect example of friendship — an example 
perhaps, that will never again be met with between two men gifted 
with the same kind of superiority. 

* The Archbishop of Rheims, brother of M. de Louvois, seeing him 
come out of the chapel of Versailles, said: M "What a good man! he has 
given up three kingdoms for a mass." 



272 LETTERS TO 

LETTER CVI. 

Paris, Monday, January IT, 1689. 

My letter, then, is dignified with a title ; this is a proof of 
its singular merit. I am glad my story amused you. I can 
never guess at the effect my letters will produce, but this has 
been a happy one. 

If you sought an opportunity of coming to an explanation 
with the archbishop, instead of suffering the misunderstanding 
which people endeavor to create between you to ferment, a 
short time would clear up the whole, or you would silence 
chatterers ; either of these is desirable, and you will find good 
result from it ; you will put an end, it is true, to the amuse- 
ments of the Provencals ; but it is only silencing ridiculous 
impertinence. M. de Barillon is arrived ; he has found a fam- 
ily group, with many of whose faces he was not acquainted. 
He is grown very fat, and said to M. de Harlai, " Sir, do not 
remind me of my fat, and I will say nothing to you of your 
lean." He is very lively, and much of the same disposition 
as his namesake whom you know. I will pay all your com- 
pliments to him, when they will not appear forced ; I have 
done so with regard to Madame de Sully, who returns you a 
thousand with a very good grace ; and to the countess,* who 
is too witty upon M. de Lauzun, whom she wished to raise to 
the pinnacle of honor, and who has neither an apartment at 
Versailles, nor the free admittance he formerly had. He is 
merely returned to court, and his exploit does not appear so 
extraordinary, though a very pretty romance was at first made 
out of it. 

The English court is quite established at St. Germain ; they 
would not accept more than 15,000 livres a month, and have 
regulated their court upon that foundation. The queen is 
very much liked ; our king converses very pleasantly with 

* The Countess de Fiesque, the constant friend of M. de Lauzun, 
and who often performed the part of mediatrix between him and 
mademoiselle. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 273 

her ; she has good sense without affectation. The king 
wished the dauphiness to pay her the first visit, but she was 
always so conveniently indisposed, that this queen paid her a 
visit three days ago, admirably dressed ; a black velvet robe, 
a beautiful petticoat, her hair tastefully disposed, a figure like 
the Princess de Conti's, and great dignity of manner. The 
king received her as she alighted ; she went first into his 
apartment, where she had a chair below the king's ; here she 
remained half an hour ; he then conducted her to the dau- 
phiness, who was up ; this occasioned a little surprise ; the 
queen said to her, " I expected to have found you in bed, 
madam." " I wished to rise, madam," replied the dauphiness, 
" to receive the honor your majesty does me." The king left 
them, as the dauphiness has no chair in his presence. The 
queen took her place, with the dauphiness on her right hand, 
madame on her left, and there were three other chairs for the 
three young princes. They conversed together for upward 
of half an hour ; several duchesses were present, and the court 
was very numerous. At length she retired ; the king gave 
orders to be informed of it, and handed her back to her car- 
riage. I do not know how far the dauphiness went with her, 
but I shall hear. The king, upon his return, highly praised 
the queen ; he said, " This is how a queen ought to be, both 
in person and mind, holding her court with dignity." He ad- 
mired her courage in misfortunes, and her affection for her 
husband ; for it is certain that she loves him, as that hateful 
woman, Madame de R***, told you. Some of our ladies who 
wished to assume the airs of princesses, did not kiss the 
queen's robe, some of the duchesses wished to avoid it also ; 
but the king was displeased at this, and they now pay her 
homage. Madame de Chaulnes has been informed of these 
particulars, but has not yet performed this duty. 

12* 



2*74 LETTERS TO 

LETTER CVIL 

Paris, Wednesday, February 16, 1689. 

The chevalier is still at Versailles, but I expect him this 
evening. The marquis dined with me the other day ; I con- 
versed a good deal with him, and I can assure you, with much 
satisfaction. There is an air of truth and modesty in all he says, 
which does not in the least resemble the style of these thought- 
less youths who always appear fools or liars. He related to me 
all the fatigues of his journey to Philipsburg, which were very 
great ; little D'Auvergne had the fever for four days, from 
mere weariness ; the marquis is strong, and bears this first trial 
with great courage ; he told me his other adventures, gave me 
an account of all the blows that were given on each side of 
him, and the contusion he received ; and this, without ostenta- 
tion, with a cool composed air of veracity, which is highly 
pleasing. I love to converse with him, and lose no opportu- 
nity of doing it; he supped yesterday with M. Turgot, and 
some young folks, at the rich little La Martilliere's ; he re- 
turned at midnight. He is gone to the horse-market, being 
wholly taken up with his company ; he will write to you to- 
night : he loves you, and knows your extreme affection ; you 
do nothing for him to which he is not as sensible as you can 
possibly wish : it is not even necessary to rouse him upon this 
subject. 

I dined yesterday with Mademoiselle de Goileau ; it was a 
company of wits ; the Abbe de Polignac, the Abbe de Rohan, 
his doctor, Abbe David, and Corbinelli. After dinner they 
discussed, very pleasantly, the philosophy of your Father Des- 
cartes ; it was with great difficulty they could comprehend the 
motion God gives to a ball that is pushed by another ; they 
would have it that the first communicated its motion, and you 
know how the Abbe Polignac and Corbinelli exclaimed upon 
the occasion : this diverted me, and brought my dear little Car- 
tesian to my remembrance, whom even I could understand so 
readily. From thence I went to Madame de la Fayette's where, 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 275 

by good fortune, I found only M. de Pomponne and M. de Baril- 
lon : we spent two hours very agreeably, and the more so as 
we are seldom so fortunate. They say that the English par- 
liament has made the Prince of Orange king, because the 
former king has deserted his kingdom, and broken the treaty 
between sovereign and subjects ; that his flight is an abdica- 
tion ; that they are determined to render the throne elective ; 
and that the parliament would not allow the Princess of 
Orange to be queen : these were the reports of yesterday, 
The chevalier will bring us news from Versailles. Some say 
with regard to the King of England's apathy, that by hearing 
him talk, it is easy to guess why he is here. 



LETTER CVm. 



Paris, Monday, February 21, 1689. 
It is certain that we are separated from each other by a 
grievous distance: this is enough to make us shudder; but 
what would it have been if I had added to it the road from 
hence to the Rocks or Rennes ? This, however, will not take 
place so soon. Madame de Chaulnes wishes to see the termi- 
nation of several affairs, and I am only afraid that she will set 
out too late, considering my intention of returning next winter, 
which I must do for several reasons ; the first of which is that 
I am convinced M. de Grignan will be obliged to return on 
account of his knighthood, and you can not take a better op- 
portunity to escape from your falling, uninhabitable castle, and 
come and pay your court a little with the knight of the order, 
who will not be a knight till that time. ]_I_paid mine the 
other day at St. Cyr much more agreeably than I expected. 
We, that is, Madame de Coulanges, Madame de Bagnols, the Ab- 
be Tetu, and I, went on Saturday. We found our places kept ; 
an officer told Madame de Coulanges that Madame de Main- 
tenon had ordered a place for her next herself ; you see what 
honor is paid her. " You, madam," said he, " may choose." 



2*78 LETTERS TO 

I p 7 aced myself with Madame de Bagnols in the second row 
behind the duchesses. Marshal de Bellefond came, and placed 
himself by choice at my right hand, and before us were the 
Duchesses d'Auvergne, De Coislin, and De Sully. The marshal 
and I listened to the tragedy with an attention that was re- 
marked, and bestowed some praises in a low voice that were 
very well placed. I can not tell you the extreme beauty of 
this piece : it is a performance not easy to represent, and is in- 
imitable : it is the union of music, poetry, singing, and charac- 
ter, so perfect and complete that there is nothing we wish to 
alter. The young ladies who represent kings and great per- 
sonages seem to be made on purpose. It commands attention, 
and the only unpleasant circumstance attending it is, that so 
fine a production should at last end. Every thing in it is sim- 
ple and innocent, sublime and affecting : the sacred history is 
so faithfully adhered to as to create respect ; all the airs cor- 
responding with the words, which are taken from the Psalms 
or Ecclesiastes, and interwoven with the subject, are singu- 
larly beautiful; the taste and attention of the audience are 
the criterions of the merit of the piece. I was delighted 
with it, and so was the marshal, who left his place to in- 
form the king how much he was gratified, that he was seated 
next to a lady who was very worthy of seeing Esther. The king 
approached our seat, and having turned round, addressed him- 
self to me : "I am told, madam," said he, " that the piece 
has given you satisfaction." I replied, with perfect self-pos- 
session, " Sire, I am delighted ; what I feel is beyond the 
power of words to describe." The king continued, " Racine 
has great talents." I replied, " Sire, he has indeed ; and so 
have these young people : they enter into the subject as if it 
had been their sole employment." " Ah ! that is very true," 
he rejoined. And then he retired, leaving me the object of 
universal envy. As I was almost the only new spectator, the 
king took pleasure in observing my genuine admiration, which 
was without noise or parade.* The prince and princess came 

* By mentioning the circumstance to which she believed she was 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 2*7 

and spoke a word to me ; Madame de Maintenon flashed upon 
me like lightning, and then retired to the king. I answered 
every one, being in one of my happiest moods. We returned 
at night with flambeaux. I supped at Madame de Coulanges', 
to whom the king had also spoken with an air of affability 
that made him appear fascinating. I saw the chevalier at 
night. I related to him very naturally my little good fortune, 
being unwilling to conceal it without a reason, as some people 
do. He was pleased, and here I conclude upon this head. I 
am sure he did not afterward find in me any ridiculous van- 
ity, or the transports of a vulgar country bumpkin. Ask him. 
M. de Meaux talked to me a good deal about you, and so did 
the prince. I pitied you for not being present ; but how was 
it possible ? one can not be every where. You were at the 
opera at Marseilles. As Atys is not only too happy, but 
too charming, it is impossible you could have been tired with 
it. Paulina must have been surprised at such a spectacle ; she 
has no right to wish for a more perfect one. I have so pleas- 
ing an idea of Marseilles, that I am persuaded you are 
amused there ; and I will back the dissipations of that place 
against those of Aix. 

But on that very Saturday, after the representation of Es- 
ther, the king was informed of the death of the young Queen 
of Spain,* who was carried off in two days by a violent vom 

indebted for this little favor of the king, she proves sufficiently that 
she was not so much elated with it as has been pretended. 

* Maria-Louisa of Orleans, daughter of monsieur, and of Henrietta- 
Anne of England, his first wife. 

Madame de la Fayette says in her Memoirs, that the Queen of Spain 
was poisoned by a cup of chocolate. Dangeau affirms that it was by 
an eel pie. Madame, in her Lettres Originates, maintains that the poi- 
son was communicated by raw oysters. 

Voltaire has denied this poisoning, as well as several others. It was 
a system of the historian. But he only confutes Dangeau's account, 
who had said that three of the queen's women had died in consequence 
of eating of the same dish. Against this detail he brings forward re- 
spectable authority. 

Madame de la Fayette, who, in the life of Madame (Henrietta of 



2f8 LETTERS TO 

iting : this has very much the air of foul play. The king 
informed monsieur of it next day, which was yesterday ; great 
was the grief upon the occasion ; madame wept bitterly, and 
the king retired in a flood of tears. 

It is said there is good news from England ; not only the 
Prince of Orange is not elected king or protector, but he is 
given to understand that he and his troops have nothing to 
do but return: this shortens our solicitude. If this news 
should gain ground, our Brittany will be in less agitation, and 
my son will not have the mortification of commanding the 
nobility of the viscounty of Rennes, and the barony of Vitre. 
They have chosen him, against his will, to be at their head. 
Any one else would be greatly elated with this honor, but he 
is vexed at it, not liking, under any title whatever, to take the 
field in that way. 

England), had not dared to confirm the opinion of her having died by 
poison, joined with Yoltaire in that of the Queen of Spain, daughter of 
this princess. 

The evidence of Madame (De Baviere) would be stronger if she were 
not so partial, and did not show herself so ready to give credit to every 
crime. What she adds, that it was two of the queen's French waiting 
women who poisoned her, is very improbable. 

She says, however, that it was the Earl of Mansfield who procured 
the poison, a circumstance which agrees with the common report of 
that period. 

In fact, all the letters and memoirs of cotemporary writers agree in 
saying that the Council of Spain, devoted to the emperor and the 
Prince of Orange, and resolved to enter into the league against France, 
wished to remove a queen who was too good a Frenchwoman, and 
who, governing her husband, was too great an obstacle to the projects 
of war that had been formed. 

It is true that such a report, at the moment of the breaking out of 
hostilities, can not pass for an historical proof; but it must be ownod 
that it very nearly resembles truth. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 279 

LETTER CIX. 

Paris, Ash-Wednesday, February 23, 1689. 
My dear child, the life you lead at Marseilles delights me. 
I love that city, which resembles no other in the world. Ah ! 
how well I understand Paulina's admiration ! How natural, 
how just, how novel all her surprise must be ! How pretty I 
think her ! how pleasing to me is the mind which my fancy 
gives her ! It seems to me that I love her, and that you do 
not love her enough. You want her to be all perfection. Did 
she engage for this when she left her convent ? You are not 
just. Who is there without faults ? Do you, in conscience, 
expect her to be free from them ? Whence can this hope 
arise ? It is not in nature. You wish her then to be a pro- 
digious prodigy, such as was never before seen. If I were 
with you, I think I should do her some good offices, merely by 
correcting your imagination a little, and by asking you, if a 
young girl, who thinks of nothing but pleasing you and im- 
proving herself, who loves and fears you, and who has a great 
share of understanding, is not in the first rank of excellence ? 
These are the dictates of my heart in favor of my dear Pau- 
lina, whom I love, and whom I entreat you immediately to 
embrace for my sake. Add to this her good conscience, which 
makes her renounce the compact, when she sees the jugglers 
perform their necromancies. This life, though agreeable, must 
have fatigued you ; it is too much for you, my dear child ; you 
go to bed late, and you rise early, I have had apprehensions 
for your health. The reason I do not talk to you of mine is, 
that it is as I wish yours to be, and that I have nothing to say 
upon the subject. 



LETTER CX. 

Paris. Monday, February 28, 1689. 
The chevalier went yesterday to Versailles to know his fate ; 
for, not finding himself in the lists that have appeared, he ia 



280 LETTERS TO 

anxious to know whether he is reserved for the dauphin's 
army, which has not yet been mentioned. As he has said 
that he was capable of serving, he has a right to think that he 
has not been forgotten ; at all events it will not be his fault ; 
he is one of the best. It is certain that the King of England 
set out this morning for Ireland, where he is expected with 
impatience ; he will be better there than here. He will tra- 
verse Brittany with the swiftness of lightning ; and go straight 
to Brest, where he will find Marshal d'Estrees, and ships and 
frigates ready ; he takes with him 50,000 crowns. The king 
has given him sufficient arms for 10,000 men. As his Britan- 
nic majesty took leave, he said with a smile, " That arms for 
himself were the only things that had been forgotten ;" our 
king gave him his ; the heroes of romance never did any thing 
more gallant than this action. What will not this brave but 
unhappy king do, with arms that have ever been victorious ? 
Behold him then with the casque and cuirass of Rinoldo and 
Amadis, and all our most celebrated knights-errant; I will 
not say of Hector, for he was unfortunate. There is not an 
offer that can be suggested, that our king has not made him ; 
generosity and magnanimity have been carried to their height. 
M. d'Avaux* is to go with him ; he set out two days ago. 
You will ask why M. de Barillonf was not the person. The 
reason is, that M. d'Avaux, being perfectly acquainted with 
the affairs of Holland, will be more useful, than he who is ac- 
quainted only with those of England.J The queen has shut 
herself up at Poissi with her son ; she will be near the king, 
and the fountain-head of intelligence. She is overwhelmed 

* John- Anthony de Mesmes, Count d'Avaux, nephew of Claudius de 
Mesmes, also Count d'Avaux, both celebrated for their superior talents 
in negotiation, and for uncommon qualities of heart and mind. 

f M. de Barillon had been embassador to England. 

% The reason assigned here for the preference that was given to M. 
d'Avaux, is not the true one : d'Avaux had the merit of having fore- 
seen and announced every event that happened, whereas De Barillon 
had the misfortune to be wrong in every thing ; this was the real cause 
of the preference. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 281 

with grief, and suffers from a nephritic complaint, that makes 
it feared she has the stone ; she is really to be pitied. You 
see, my dear child, it is the rage of talking that makes me 
write all this ; the chevalier and the gazette will give you bet- 
ter information than I can do. Your son has lived with me; 
I never leave him, and he is satisfied. He is going to take 
leave of the little Mesdemoiselles Castelnau ; but his heart has 
yet no attractions. His duty and his regiment take up all his 
time. He is delighted at the thoughts of going, and of setting 
the example to others. 



LETTER CXI. 

Paris, Wednesday, March 2, 1689. 
Shrove-Tuesday is not an indifferent day to Paulina. I can 
not help scolding you, my dear child, for not having sent her 
prettily to the good Langlee's, to dance a little with Madem- 
oiselle d'Oraison ; what harm would there have been in allow- 
ing her this little pastime? I am sure this dear child is inte- 
resting, that she has a good air, a good carriage, and even 
eclipses more regular beauties. I scold you also for reading 
all your letters before you go to bed. I know it is scarcely 
possible to keep them till the next day ; but you must calcu- 
late upon not sleeping, for there will often be many things in 
them that will create disagreeable thoughts ; nor would it be 
a whit better if they contained nothing but reflections and 
news. Before the imagination has sifted the contents, the 
night is gone. As you know all this to be true, settle the 
matter for the benefit of your health. I took my marquis yes- 
terday to Madame du Pui-du-fou's ; she grows very old. M. 
de Mirepoix, who had been there once before to see me, came 
a second time, and each time his whole conversation turned 
upon his condescension in marrying to please his family. The 
little puppet is dying of the spleen in this dreary abode. I after- 
ward went to Madame de Lavardin's, to whom I remembered 



282 LETTERS TO 

you. She embraced your son several times. She loves you 
dearly, and so does Madame de Mouci ; but this last is in the 
third heaven ; she has lost a sister, who was a nun, for whom 
she had very little regard : T shall make your compliments to 
her and her learned brother.* The chevalier arrived last night, 
and is very well ; he will be employed, but he knows not yet 
in what country ; I admire his courage. Your son is a very 
agreeable and a very pretty fellow ; he already manages all 
his affairs, gives orders, makes purchases, and keeps his ac- 
counts ; it is a pity his father had not done the same. The 
chevalier will inform you what our king said to the King of 
England at his taking leave : " Sir, it is with grief I see you 
depart, yet I never wish to see you again ; but if you return, 
be assured you will find me the same as you leave me." Could 
any thing better have been said ? He has loaded him with 
every thing, great and small ; two millions of money, ships, 
frigates, troops, officers, and M. d'Avaux, who makes, upon 
the occasion, one of the most brilliant figures in the world. I 
will venture to say that there is no one who would not be 
proud of the employment, who would not think it worthy of 
a man thoroughly acquainted with business, and capable of 
giving advice : if M. de Barillon is not sensible of this he is 
very happy. I now come to the minutiae, such as toilets, 
camp-beds, services of plate, plain and gilt, arms for his per- 
son, which are the king's ; arms for the troops in Ireland, and 
those who go with him, who are very numerous ; in short, 
generosity, magnificence, and magnanimity were never so 
strikingly displayed as upon this occasion. The king is not 
willing that the queen should go to Poissi ; she will see very 
little company, but the king will take care of her, and she 
will receive news without intermission. The parting of the 
King and Queen of England rent the hearts of all the specta- 
tors ; nothing but tears, sighs, lamentations, and swoonings 
were to be seen or heard, which is very easy to be compre- 

* Achilles de Harlay, then attorney-general, and afterward first 
president in the parliament of Paris, in November, 1689. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 283 

bended. Such is his destiny. He has a good cause ; he is 

the protector of the true religion, and his courage will allow 
him no other alternative than conquest or death. 



LETTER CXII. 

Paris, Wednesday, March 23, 1689. 

I shall not retract the praises I have bestowed on the tragedy 
of Esther ; I shall be delighted with the harmony and novelty 
of this spectacle as long as I live ; I was in raptures with it ; I 
found in it a thousand things so just, so well introduced, and 
so important to a king, that I entered with uncommon spirit 
into the pleasure arising from the utterance, in fiction and 
song, of the most solid truths ; I was affected with these 
various beauties, and am very far from changing my opinion. 
But I told you that the impression of this piece has produced 
its usual effect, and has brought forth a civil demur against ex- 
cessive applause. I, who have read it again with pleasure, 
suppose that the critics are routed, as M. d'Aiguebonne will be 
with his demur, if the chevalier has time to press the point. 
The victory of the grand council has been brilliant and grati- 
fying, and I doubt not that it will give you ample satisfaction ; 
I am impatient to receive your letter upon this subject. M. 
de Lamoignon told me again to-day, that this advantage, 
gained sword in hand, was greater than we supposed. I told 
him he was mistaken, as we had felt the pleasure in its fullest 
extent. He is very much engaged in the great cause between 
mademoiselle, the prince, and the whole house of Lorraine, 
who have recourse to law in the same way we have. M. de 
Lamoignon is to plead on Thursday, and the affair will be de- 
termined upon hearing. 

The King of England set sail on the 17 th, and arrived in 
Ireland on the 19th. Little Mailly, who accompanied him to 
Brest, is returned. Adieu, my beloved child ; I dread an in- 
crease of distance from you; it makes me ill. I swallow 



284 LETTERS TO 

this journey like a dose of medicine ; but the worst is, that I 
have no time to lose ; in truth, my reflections are often of the 
most melancholy cast ; for, though I submit to that Provi- 
dence which separates us, what would become of me if I had 
not the hope of seeing you again ? 



LETTER CXHL 

The Rocks, Wednesday, June 1, 1689. 

Paulina is too fortunate in being your secretary ; she learns, 
as I told you, to think, and express her thoughts, by seeing 
how you express yours. She is learning the French language, 
which most women are ignorant of, but you take the trouble 
of explaining words to her, which she would not understand ; 
and by instructing her in so many subjects, you relieve your 
own head and mine. The tediousness of dictating is not 
equal to the fatigue of writing ; and my mind is never at rest, 
but when I know yours is so. Persevere, then, in instructing 
your daughter so properly, and in affording so great a relief 
to yourself and to me. 

When you are assured of my being in perfect health, you 
do every thing that can be done, which is to dread its inter- 
ruption. This too sometimes engages my thoughts, and not 
finding any of those little inconveniences with which you are ac- 
quainted, I say with astonishment, I must, however, expect 
that this happy state will change ; and I conclude, that I 
ought, as upon all other occasions, to submit to the will of 
God, and believe, that in inflicting ills upon me, he will give 
me patience. I will therefore enjoy my present lot. 



LETTER CXIV. 



The Rocks, Sunday, July 3, 1689. 
It is nine months this third of July, reckoning from day to 
day, and from Sunday to Sunday, since I left you with a del- 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 285 

uge of tears, and more than you perceived, at Charenton. 
Such partings are grievous and bitter, particularly when we 
have not much time to lose. But to turn them to our advan- 
tage, we ought to make them a period of abstinence and pen- 
ance, wbich would be the sure means of making them salu- 
tary ; it is certain that this holy economy is a favor from 
heaven, like all others, which we do not deserve to obtain. 
Nine months, then, have passed, in which I have neither seen 
nor embraced you, nor even heard the sound of your voice. I 
have not been ill, I have had no particular uneasiness ; I have 
seen fine houses, fine countries, and fine cities. Nevertheless, 
I must acknowledge that it appears to me nine years since I 
left you. I have had no letter from you this post ; the delay 
is always a disappointment to me. Madame de Lavardin tells 
me that she said to Madame de Buri, with regard to Chabril- 
land's cause, which the last expects to gain, " You have al- 
ways great expectations ; but one of your friends, who under- 
stands these things, is not of the same opinion." " Ah !" said 
she, " you mean M. de Fieubet, but I do not believe him." 
And Madame de Lavardin afterward told me that M. d' Aries 
is to have the honor of the civil petition. It is he, then, who 
is to be the solicitor ; but I would not, I think, solicit with 
beat of drum in open court, where people are convinced you 
have already but too much credit. We lead here, my dear 
countess, the life I described to you. It is very fine weather ; 
we are so perfumed at night with jasmines and orange- 
flowers, that in this respect I think I am in Provence. M. 
and Madame de Chaulnes have written to me from St. Malo, 
and constantly mention you. Write to La Troche ; she can 
not be consoled for your forgetfulness of her. I know not 
how it has happened, for you are punctual. It is not possible 
that I have not informed you of the death of her husband. I 
expect your answer. 



286 LETTERS TO 

LETTER CXV. 

The Rocks, Wednesday, October 5, 1689. 
It had never entered my brain to accuse certain iron wires 
in the head-dress of being the cause of long faces ; this hint 
would be very useful to certain persons of our acquaintance. 
I had heard they were very friendly ; but no, quite the contrary. 
These two little wires press against the temples, prevent the 
circulation of blood, and cause abscesses. Some die in con- 
sequence. They may consider themselves fortunate whose 
faces are only lengthened an ell, and who become as pale as 
death ; but young people, who are more hardy, may recover 
in time. I am very much inclined to place this story in the 
class with some others, formerly related to me by the good 
Princess de Tarente ; however, it is not amiss to know every- 
thing. 

I do not in the least doubt that M. de la Garde, who never 
refused a remedy, will avail himself of that of the lady you 
mention. You will see him with his head upon the ground, 
and his heels in the air, turning an affair* like her ; I really 
believe that if we were to pursue this regimen for any length 
of time, we should no longer have sore eyes. I have nothing 
to give you in return for your account of this visit. 

We have had a very worthy, sensible, agreeable, unaffected, 
learned, and every way desirable, visitor with us ; a man of 
great endowments, and capable of entering upon every subject 
of conversation ; he has been here for a week. One of his 
brothers-in-law is arrived, the Abbe de Marbeuf, who spoils 
nothing ; and a brother-in-law of the Count de Lis, who would 
spoil every thing if he opened his lips ; this is a secret misan- 
thropist, for he keeps his chagrin to himself; he is very well 
made, and sings so much like Beaumaviel, that he might be 
mistaken for him. When our worthy friend departed, every 

* It has already been observed that this was a favorite expression 
of M. de la Garde. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 287 

thing was comparatively flat and insipid; we renewed the 
just observations we made in this country with you, on pleas- 
ant and disagreeable company ; and fixed that the disagreea- 
ble was the most desirable ; their absence is a relief ; whereas 
pleasant society leaves us dull and dejected ; we can not easily 
pursue the old track ; in short, it is a great misfortune to as- 
sociate with sensible people, but it is a misfortune that does not 
often happen to us 



LETTER CXVL 



The Rocks, Sunday, November 13, 1689. 

Your* letter is not yet arrived ; this is always a grief to me ; 
though I have in some degree got the better of the apprehen- 
sions I formerly suffered from the delay ; it is the whim of the 
post, and we must endure it ; but as I am constantly with you 
at Grignan, I lose the thread of the conversation ; this it is 
that vexes me. I know not whether you go to the assembly 
with M. de Grignan, or remain at your chateau. I am very 
uneasy about the chevalier's health, and the effects of the bark, 
repeated in its usual dose ; its heat operating upon that of the 
chevalier's blood, brings to my mind an old saying, When the 
brave meets the brave, they remain brave. We hope, therefore, 
that this brave bark will make the blood remain brave ; God 
grant it may ; it is very difficult to subdue. 

I have received a long letter from my new friend, the man- 
wolf Guebriac ; I would have sent it to you, as his style, which 
is very easy, would be agreeable enough, if he did not praise 
me so extravagantly ; in fact, my modesty will not suffer it ; 
he is so astonished to find a woman with a few good qualities 
and good principles, who in her youth had some charms, that 
he seems to have passed his life in a whirlwind of passions, 
among a banditti equally devoid of faith and law, where love 
reigned alone, despoiled of every kind of virtue ; this has given 
rise to some very pleasant things. 



288 LETTERS TO 

We are reading the History of the Church by M. de Go- 
deau ;* it is really a very fine work ; in what a respectable 
light does it place religion ! we are ready to suffer martyrdom 
with Abbadie. Every thing has its turn ; Corisca is very 
pretty and very roguish ; altri tempi, altre cure. Love me al- 
ways, -my dear child, but never weigh other love in the same 
scale with yours ; your heart is of the first order, and no one 
resembles it. 



LETTER CXVII. 

The Rocks, Wednesday, January 11, 1690. 

Good heavens ! what a new year's gift ! what wishes ! what 
could be more calculated to charm me ? I will tell you a 
feeling I have just discovered in myself; if it could repay 
yours I should be satisfied, for I have no other coin : instead 
of the kind fears which the frequent deaths that surround you 
occasion, and which make you think of others, I offer you the 
real consolation, and even the joy, which frequently arise to me 
from my being older than you. The thought that the oldest 
goes first, and that I shall probably and naturally keep my 
rank with my dear child, constitutes the true charms of this 
feeling. What have I not 'suffered, when your ill state of 
wealth made me dread a reverse of the order of nature ? 
These were trying times ; let us talk no more of them ; you 
.ire well, God be praised ; and every thing has resumed its 
natural course. God preserve you ; I believe you hear my 
tone of voice, and know me. 

I now come to the chevalier ; I have no hesitation in believ- 
ing that the climate of Provence would agree with him better 
in winter than that of Paris. All those who, like swallows, 
fly to your sunshine, afford sufficient testimony of this. But, 
while I rejoice at his being sensible of the difference, I am 
grieved at his having lost a thousand crowns of his income ; 

* Antony Godeau, Bishop of G-rasse and Yence. 



MADAME DE GRI6NAN. 289 

and by what means ? was his regiment worth so m uch to 
him ? He will sell it then to the marquis ;* but will not the 
money arising from it, in payment of debts, diminish the in- 
terest of loans ? Settle this account for me, which makes me 
uneasy ; I can not figure to myself the Chevalier de Grignan 
at Paris without his genteel and neat little equipage ; I can 
not see him walking on foot, nor inquiring for places to Ver- 
sailles ; such an idea can not enter my head ; this article is 
interlocutory ; ah, how happily this term of chicanery finds 
admittance here ! Neither do I comprehend your sixty-four 
people, besides guards ; you deceive me, this can not be your 
meaning, you must give me a mathematical demonstration. 

With regard to Paulina, you can not surely hesitate respect- 
ing the choice you have to take, between good and evil. The 
superiority of your understanding will easily point out to you 
the true road ; every thing leads you to your duty ; honor 
conscience, and the power you possess. When I consider how 
much she has corrected herself in a short time to please you, 
and how much she is improved, you will be answerable for all 
the good she neglects. As to reading, you are too much engaged 
in conversation and discussion to attend to it : we are most quiet 
here, and therefore, have leisure for it. I even read works I 
had slightly run over at Paris, and which appear quite new to 
me. We also read, by way of interlude to our grand lec- 
tures, scraps that we meet with, such as the fine funeral ora- 
tions of M. de Bossuet,f M. Flechier,J M. Mascaron,§ Father 
Bourdaloue : we pay a fresh tribute of tears to M. de Tu- 
renne, Madame de Montausier, the Prince, the late Madame, 
and the Queen of England ; we admire the portrait of Crom- 
well : these are master-pieces of eloquence, which charm the 
mind. You must not say, " These are old ;" they are not old, 

* The Chevalier de Grignan, attaining the rank of field marshal in 
1688, had leave to keep his regiment, that he might afterward resign 
in favor of the Marquis de Grignan his nephew. 

f The Bishop of Meaux. J The Bishop of Nismes. 

§ The Bishop of Agen. 

13 



290 LETTERS TO 

they are divine. Paulina should be made acquainted and de- 
lighted with them ; but this is calculated solely for the Rocks. 
I know not what book to recommend to Paulina : Davila is 
fine in Italian, we have read it ; Guicciardini is very long ; I 
should like the anecdotes of Medicis, which are an abridg- 
ment, but they are not in Italian. I will not name Benti- 
voglio again ;* let her confine herself to poetry, I do not like 
Italian prose ; to Tasso, Aminto, II Pastor Fido, etc. I dare 
not add Ariosto, there are some bad passages in it ; let her also 
read history ; let her cherish this taste, which may long pre- 
serve her from idleness ; it is to be feared that if this part of 
reading were suppressed there would be scarcely any thing to 
read ; let her begin with the life of Theodosius the Great, and 
let her tell me how she likes it. This, my child, is a letter of 
trifles ; we set apart some days for chatting, without offense 
to serious matters, in which we always take true interest. 



LETTER CXVIII. 

The Rocks, Sunday, January 15, 1690. 

You are right, I can not reconcile myself to the date of this 
year ; it has, however, been already begun for some time ; and 
you will find, that, let us pass it as we may, we shall soon find 
the bottom of the bag that contained the thousand livres.f 

You really spoil me, and so do my Paris friends ; the sun 
has scarcely gained upon us a barley-corn before you tell me 
when you shall expect me at Grignan; and my friends desire 
me to fix from that hour the time of my departure, in order 
to hasten their joy. Such pressing civilities flatter me highly, 
and particularly yours, which admit of no comparison. I will, 
then, sincerely confide to my dear countess, that between this 

* Gui Bentivoglio, cardinal, and author of the Civil Wars in Flan- 
ders, and several other works. 

+ Madame de Sevigne' compared the twelve months of the year to a 
bag with a thousand livres, which is exhausted almost as soon as it is 
opened. 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 291 

and September, I can not entertain a thought of leaving this 
country ; this is the time when I send my little means to 
Paris, of which only a very small part is gone. This is the 
time when the Abbe Charier is treating for my fines and sales, 
which amount to ten thousand livres ; but more of this here- 
after ; let us content ourselves with driving away every hope 
of taking the least step before the time I have mentioned. I 
will not, however, say that you are my goal, my perspective ; 
you know it well, and that you are so firmly rooted in my 
heart that I fear M. Nicole would find much difficulty to prune 
you away ; this, in short, is my disposition. You use the 
most affectionate expression possible to me, in hoping you may 
never see the end of the happy years you wish me. We are 
very far from agreeing in our wishes ; for I have informed 
you of a very just and very proper truth, which God will 
doubtless grant, and which is to follow the natural order of 
providence ; this is my comfort through the thorny road of 
old age : mine is a rational feeling, and yours too extraordinary 
and too kind a one. 

As to Paulina, that devourer of books, I had rather she 
should swallow bad ones, than have no love for reading ; ro- 
mances, plays, Voiture, Sarrasin, have all been exhausted ; has 
she dipped into Lucian ? is she capable of enjoying Les Petites 
Lettres ? History should come next, and if she does not find 
her account in this, I pity her. If she does not like the finest 
works of devotion, so much the worse for her, for we know 
but too well that even without devotion ourselves, they are 
charming. With respect to ethics, as she would not make so 
good a use of it as you, I would not have her meddle either 
with Montaigne, Charron, or any others of his stamp ; she is 
too young. The true morality of this age, is what we learn 
in conversation, fables, history, and example. If you were to 
bestow a little of your time upon her in conversation, she 
would reap greater benefit from this than from all the rest. I 
know not whether what I say is worth your reading, I am 
very far from being wedded to my opinion. 



292 LETTERS TO 

LETTER CXIX. 

The Rocks, Sunday, January 22, 1690. 
Good heavens, what a situation you are in ! how pressing a 
one ! and how much and sensibly I am grieved at it ! But, my 
child, how weak and futile are wishes upon such occasions ! 
and how needless it is to tell you that if I had now, as I have 
had, some portable sum which depended on me, it should soon 
be yours ! I am overwhelmed with a host of little creditors 
who dun and threaten me, and I do not know whether I shall 
be able to satisfy them, as I had hoped to do ; for I am quite 
suffocated by the obligation I am under of paying immediately 
5000 livres by way of fine, and the price of the estate of 
Madame d'Acigne, which I have purchased, to avoid paying 
10,000 if I had waited two years longer. Such, then, is my 
situation ; but this is only to acquaint you with the utter im- 
possibility of my assisting you. Your brother appears to me 
to feel for you, and I am persuaded he would perform his duty 
better than your rich prelates, if the times were as they have 
been, that is, if it were possible to borrow. He will talk to you 
himself, and tell you his opinion of your affairs. I have also 
set forth to him the embarrassments of your little colonel ; he 
mentioned the subject to me the first, some time ago, pitying 
and regretting, like us, that the chevalier had not the manage- 
ment of him for the first year or two ; nothing could have 
been of so much service to him as such a master ; in short, 
my dearest child, no one but God can confine so great a num- 
ber of disagreeable things within the bounds of resignation, in 
which you appear to me. To return to my son ; he had some 
anxiety on seeing a stripling of seventeen or eighteen at the 
head of such a troop. He remembers enough of past times to 
know how difficult it is at that age to command old officers ; 
and this difficulty would have been removed, if he could have 
had his uncle to establish him ; this is a very disagreeable and 
delicate time for him. Can not you assist him with some pru- 
dent counselor, to advise him a little % For, in short, he is 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 293 

alone, and can not at his age know a profession that requires 
more experience than any other. I have conjured you to send 
for the marquis to Grignan ; what will he do during the car- 
nival at Paris and Versailles ? do you think he will acquit 
himself well of the duty and compliments he has to go through ? 
I perhaps do him wrong ; but he is very young, and little ac- 
customed to this business ; in short, I think he has more to 
perform than he is equal to. I resign the pen to my son ; I 
will resume it again presently. 



LETTER CXX. 

The Rocks, Sunday, February 26, 1690. 

I could not have believed that I should have wept so much 
for La Chau ; but it is impossible to read your account of his 
poor wife's unfeigned and violent affliction without being af- 
fected to tears. This is, indeed, a peculiar misfortune, and a 
fate which nothing could prevent. The man is in haste, he 
wants to get to his journey's end ; he is advised, for very 
weighty reasons, not to expose himself, or, at Jeast, not to go 
into the little boat; but he will listen to no one, he must 
go, he must be punctual to his appointment ; Death is waiting 
for him at a particular spot upon the Rhone ; he must meet 
him there, and perish. Good heavens, my dear child, how all 
this is arranged ! Every one sees his own fate in this accident, 
and his wife's grief becomes ours ; as we are exposed to similar 
perils, it is our own interest that makes us weep, when we 
suppose we are lamenting the misfortunes of others. Christian- 
ity dictates to us that we should think first of this poor man's 
salvation ; but his wife afterward claims our pity for the loss 
of 4000 livres ; if the dead body should not float, or the vio- 
lence of the Rhone should throw it beyond Aries upon some 
unfrequented shore, Providence will dispose of this gold, sewed 
up in his wet coat, as of the rest. 

I highly approve the resolution of not sending for the mar- 



294 LETTERS TO 

quis, this is the surest way ; the journey would be both ex- 
pensive and fatiguing, and productive of no good but the mere 
gratification of your affection; bear this like many other 
things, and rather wait till he is a brigadier or major-general, 
than make him lose his time now. Beaulieu informs me, that 
he is quite overwhelmed with business, and that he attends to 
nothing else. Is it possible, that he should have visited Mad- 
ame de la Fayette before Madame de Vins ? I blame him ; 
I am as jealous upon this occasion as you are, for I frequently 
put myself in your place ; every reason should have induced 
him to have flown to Madame de Vins ; she wrote to me the 
other day that she longed to see him, and to observe the dif- 
ference and transition from infancy to youth. He has waited 
upon Madame de Lavardin, and will have time to pay her 
another visit. 

M. de Grignan has resolved upon a very precipitate journey ; 
it is difficult to avoid such courses, when we command singly 
in a province, whether for the service of the king, or the 
honor of the post. You never examine thoroughly into this 
business, except for M. de Grignan ; this is natural enough ; 
but the example should extend further. No enemies, my dear 
child; let this be your maxim, it is equally Christian and 
politic : I not only say no enemies, but also many friends ; 
you have felt the good effects of these in your law-suit ; you 
have a son ; you may stand in need of those who you may 
now think can never be of service to you. We are deceived ; 
see how Madame de la Fayette abounds with friends on every 
side, and of all ranks. She has a hundred arms, and they all 
serve her ; her children feel it, and thank her daily for her 
courteous disposition ; an obligation which she owes to M. de 
la Rochefoucault, and of which her family reaps the benefit. 
I am certain that you have been of this opinion for many 
years. 

You explain Madame Reinie's conduct very well ; it is droll 
to think of her leaving Paris, her husband, all her business, 
to fly for three or four months all over Provence asking for 



MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 295 

money, without getting any, fatiguing herself, returning after 
being at great expense, and getting the rheumatism into the 
bargain! for recollect that she has pains all over her; and 
such as at length have defeated you. 

I am delighted at Paulina's partiality to M. Nicole ; it is a 
proof that she reads him with attention; this taste gives me 
the highest opinion of her understanding ; I also like her anger 
that the bishops do not fight for promotion. But, my dear, 
on your honor do you believe it right to give us only the first 
volume of the romance of the Princess, the Infanta, or the 
First Minister, so charming as we thought it I* I will not 
allow you to stop here ; I insist upon knowing what is be- 
come of the princess's good and just resolution ? I am afraid 
it has vanished, by the necessity of the times, the want of a 
minister, the sudden journey, the impossibility of collecting 
the leaves of the Sibyl, idly and incautiously scattered to the 
winds for ten years. In short, I fear your good intentions 
will come to nothing, as I have so often found during the last 
twenty years: this story, however, requires a continuation, 
but it should not be too serious with regard to your affairs. 
I wish also to be informed of the success of M. Prat's journey 
to the enraged lover of the Princess Truelle. I should like 
to know who were the confidants of the first minister and the 
favorite ; and who received the couriers. Tell me if you are 
still satisfied with Flame ;\ he is a very considerable person- 
age in your household. I want to know some particulars re- 
specting the count's journey, and if the treasurer will do as 
he wishes : here are a number of questions, my dearest child, 
for which I apologize. It is kind of you to love my letters ; 
when you receive three at a time you say you are rich ; but 
what fatigues do they not occasion you ! They are so very 
long that you should not answer them minutely. Adieu, my 
love ; how does Lent agree with you ? for my part I like it 

* This was an account, in the form of a romance, of what passed in 
M. de Grignan's family. 

f M. de Grignan's house-steward. 



296 LETTERS TO MADAME DE GRIGNAN. 

extremely. I took a mess of milk-coffee this morning : I am 
not yet surfeited with it, nor with sermons, for we read none 
but those of M. le Tourneux and St. John Chrysostom. It is 
delightful weather, the winter is past, and we have a prospect 
of spring that is superior to spring itself. 

N.B. This letter is the last from the mother to the daughter. 



LETTERS TO M. DE POMPONNE. 



The following Letters, relating to the trial of M. Fouquet, 
were addressed to the Marquis de Pomponne, who was after- 
ward Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

The trial of Fouquet was not the least curious and least 
interesting event of the reign of Louis XIV. The plan of 
ruining him was laid with such odious art, and the conduct 
of his enemies, many of whom were his judges, was so invet- 
erate, that it would have been impossible not to have been 
interested for him, even had he been more criminal than he 
really was. Accused and tried for financial peculations, he 
was sentenced to banishment for a crime against the state. 
His crime was a vague plan of resistance and flight into a 
foreign country, which he had thrown upon paper five years 
before, when the factions of the Fronde divided France, and 
when he thought he had reason to complain of the ingratitude 
of Cardinal Mazarin. This plan, which he had wholly for- 
gotten, was found among the papers that were seized at his 
house. 

It is well known that Louis XIV. was led to believe that 
Fouquet was a dangerous man. A guard of fifty musketeers 
were appointed to conduct him to the citadel of Pignerol, the 
king having changed the sentence of banishment into perpetual 
imprisonment. It was still apprehended that he had formi- 
dable friends. Among these were Pelisson and Lafontaine ; 
one defended him eloquently, and the other bewailed his mis- 
fortunes in a very beautiful and pathetic elegy, in which h6 

went so far as to ask the king to pardon him. 

13* 



298 LETTERS TO 



LETTER I. 



To-day, Monday, November the 17 th, 1664, M. Fouquet 
was brought a second time before the chancellor. He seated 
himself without ceremony upon the sellette,* as he had done 
the first time. The chancellor began by bidding him hold up 
his hand. He replied, that he had already assigned the rea- 
sons which prevented him from taking the oath. The chancellor 
then made a long speech to prove the legal authority of the 
court, that it had been established by the king, and that the 
warrants had been confirmed by the parliament. 

M. Fouquet replied, that things were often done under the 
name of legal authority which were found upon reflection to 
be unjust. 

The chancellor interrupted him : " What ! do you mean to 
say that the king abuses his power ?" M. Fouquet replied, 
" It is you, sir, who say it, not I ; this was not my idea, and, 
in my present situation, I can not but wonder at your wishing 
to implicate me still further with his majesty ; but, sir, you 
yourself well know that we may be mistaken. "When you sign 
a sentence, you believe it just, yet the next day you annul that 
sentence ; thus you see it is possible to change our opinion." 

" But," said the chancellor, " though you will not acknowl- 
edge the power of the court, you answer and put interroga- 
tories, and you are now upon the sellette." " It is true, I am 
so," he replied, " but it is not voluntarily ; I am brought here 
against my will ; it is a power I must obey, and a mortifica- 
tion which God has inflicted upon me, and which I receive 
from his hands ; after the services I have rendered, and the 
offices I have had the honor to bear, I might have been spared 
this humiliation. 

The chancellor then continued the examination respecting 
the pension of the gabelles, to which the replies of M. Fou- 
quet were extremely satisfactory. The examination will pro- 

* Stool on which a prisoner sits. 



M. DE P0MP0NNE. 299 

cee<i, and I shall send you a faithful account of it ; I am 
anxious to know whether my letters come safely to your 
hands. 

Your sister, who is with our ladies at the Faubourg, has 
signed ; she is now with the community, and seems perfectly 
satisfied. • 

Your aunt does not appear at all displeased with her ; I did 
not think it was she who had taken the leap, but some other 
person. You know, of course, of our defeat at Gigeri,* and as 
those who formed the plan wish to throw the failure upon 
those who executed it, they intend to bring Gadagne to trial. 
There are some who will be satisfied with nothing less than 
his head ; but the public is persuaded that he could not have 
advised otherwise than he did. M. d'Aleth, who excommuni- 
cated the subaltern officers of the king, who were for compel- 
ling the clergy to sign, is very much talked 'of here. This 
will ruin him with your father, while it will bring him into 
favor with Pere Annat.f 

Adieu ! The desire of gossiping has seized me, but I must 
not yield to it ; the narrative style should be concise. 



LETTER II. 

Friday, November 20, 1664. 
M. Fouquet was examined this morning respecting the gold 
mark ; he answered extremely well ; several of the judges 
bowed to him ; the chancellor reproved them and said that, 
as he was a Breton, it was not the custom. " It is because you 
are Bretons that you bow so low to M. Fouquet." In return- 
ing on foot from the arsenal, M. Fouquet asked what the work- 
men were doing ; he was told they were making the vase of a 
fountain ; he went to them, and gave his opinion, and after- 

* The first expedition against Algiers. 
f A Jesuit, confessor of Louis XIY. 



300 LETTERS TO 

ward returned smiling to Artagan. " You wonder, no doubt," 
said he, " at my interfering, but I formerly understood these 
things well." The friends of M. Fouquet, and I among the 
rest, are pleased at this delightful composure ; others call it 
affectation ; such is the world. Madame Fouquet, his mother, 
has given the queen a plaster that has cured her convulsions, 
which, properly speaking, were nothing but the vapors. 

Many, believing what they wish, imagine that the queen 
will, on this account, intercede with his majesty to pardon the 
unfortunate prisoner ; but I, who hear a great deal of the kind- 
ness of this country, do not believe a word of it. The noise 
the plaster has made is wonderful ; every body says that Mad- 
ame Fouquet is a saint, and has the power of working mira- 
cles. 

To-day, the 21st, M. Fouquet has been questioned respecting 
the wax and sugar taxes. At certain objections that were 
raised, and which appeared to him ridiculous, he lost his tem- 
per. This was going a little too far, and there was a haughti- 
ness in his manners that gave offense. He will correct him- 
self ; for this mode of proceeding is by no means advisable; 
but patience will sometimes escape ; it seems to me as if I 
should have done the same. 

I have been at Sainte-Marie, where I saw your aunt, who 
appeared to be swallowed up in devotion ; she was at mass, 
and in quite a religious ecstasy. Your sister was looking very 
pretty ; fine eyes, and great animation ; the poor child fainted 
this morning ; she is very much indisposed ; her aunt is uni- 
formly kind to her. M. de Paris has given her a sort of de- 
feasance, which gained her heart, and induced her to sign the 
wicked formulary.* I have not mentioned the subject to either 
of them ; M. de Parisf has forbidden it. But I must give you 

* This relates to the condemnation of the five propositions of Jan- 
senius ; the clergy of France protested against them, and drew up a 
formulary, which the nuns of Port Royal and many others refused to 
sign ; this refusal, in the end, caused their dispersion. 

f The then archbishop of Paris was the sage Perefixe. 



M. DE POMPONNE. 301 

an idea of prejudice ; our sisters of Sainte-Marie said to me, 
'' God be praised, who has at length touched the heart of this 
poor child ! she is now in the way of obedience and salvation." 
From thence I went to Port Royal, where I found a certain 
great recluse* of your acquaintance, who accosted me with, 
u Well, this silly goose has signed ; God, in short, has aban- 
doned her ; she is lost." I thought I should have died with 
laughing, when I reflected on the different effects of prejudice ; 
(n this, you see the world in its true mirror. I think extremes 
ihould always be avoided. 

Saturday evening. M. Fouquet entered the chamber this 
morning, and was interrogated upon the subject of grants ; he 
was attacked weakly and defended himself ably. Between 
you and me, this is not the worst part of the business. Some 
good angel must have informed him that he had carried him- 
self too proudly ; for he altered his manner to-day, and the 
judges altered theirs, by not bowing to him. The examina- 
tion will not be resumed till Wednesday ; and I shall not 
write to you till then. I have only to add, that if you con- 
tinue to pity me so much, for the trouble I take in writing to 
you, and desire me not to go on, I shall think my letters tire 
you, and that you do not like the fatigue of answering them ; 
but I promise not to write such long ones in future, and I ab- 
solve you from answering them, though I prize your letters 
highly. After these declarations, I should think you would 
not attempt to interrupt the course of my gazettes. In flat- 
tering myself that I contribute a little to your pleasure, I add 
greatly to my own. I have so few opportunities of proving 
my friendship and esteem for you, that I must not neglect such 
as present themselves. Pray make my compliments to your 
family and your neighbors. The queen is much better. 

* No doubt the celebrated Doctor Arnauld d'Andillv. 



302 LETTERS TO 



LETTER III. 



Monday, November 24, 1664. 
If I know my own heart, it is I who am the party obliged, 
by your receiving so kindly the information I send you. Do 
you think I have no pleasure in writing to you ? Believe me, 
I have a great deal, and am as much gratified in writing, as 
you can be in reading what I write. The sentiments you en- 
tertain upon the subject of my letter are very natural ; hope is 
common to us all, without our knowing why ; but it supports 
the heart. J dined at Sainte-Marie de Sainte-Antoine two 
days ago ; the lady abbess related to me the particulars of 
four visits she has received from Puis * * *,* within the last 
three months, at which I am very much astonished. He came 
to tell her that the now blessed Bishop of Geneva (Frangois de 
Sales) had been so extremely kind to him during his illness 
last summer, that he could not help feeling most strongly the 
obligations he owed him ; and he requested her to obtain the 
prayers of the community for the deceased. He gave her, for 
the accomplishment of his holy purpose, a thousand crowns, 
and entreated her to show him the bishop's heart. When he 
was at the grate, he fell upon his knees, and remained full a 
quarter of an hour, bathed in tears, apostrophizing this heart, 
and praying for a spark of the divine fire which had consumed 
it. The lady abbess also melted into tears ; and gave him the 
relics of the deceased, with which he hurried away. During 
these visits, he appeared so earnest about his salvation, so dis- 
gusted with the court, so transported with the idea of his con- 
version, that a person more clear-sighted than the abbess would 
have been deceived. She contrived to introduce the subject of 
Fouquet ; he answered her as a man who was interested in 
nothing but religion; that he was not sufficiently known; 
that justice would be done him, agreeably to the will of God, 

* This name appears to be altered, and ought, as will be seen further 
on, to be Puissort. 



M. DE POMPONNE. 303 

if from no other consideration. I never was more surprised 
than at this conversation. If you ask me what I think of it, I 
must answer, that I do not know ; that it is perfectly unintel- 
ligible to me ; that I can not see the drift of this comedy, nor, 
if it is not a comedy, how the steps he has since taken are to 
be reconciled with his fine speeches. 

Time must explain all this, for it is at present perfectly 
enigmatical. Do not mention it, for the lady abbess desired 
me not to make the circumstance known. 

I have seen M. Fouquet's mother. She told me she had 
sent the plaster to the queen by Madame de Charost.* The 
effect was certainly wonderful : in less than an hour the queen 
felt her head relieved, and so great a discharge of offensive 
matter took place, that had it remained it might have suffo- 
cated her in the next fit. The queen said aloud that it was 
this matter which had occasioned the convulsions of the pre- 
ceding night, and that Madame de Fouquet had cured her. 
The queen-mother thought the same, and said so to the king, 
who did not attend to her. The physicians, who had not 
been consulted in applying the plaster, withheld their senti- 
ments on the subject, but made their court at the expense of 
truth. The same day, these poor women threw themselves at 
the feet of the king, who took no notice of them. Every body 
is acquainted with the circumstance of the cure ; but no one 
knows what will come of it : we must wait the event with pa- 
tience. 

M. Fouquet was interrogated again this morning, but the 
chancellor's manner was changed; it seems as if he were 
ashamed of receiving his lesson every day from Boucherat.f 
He told the reporter to read the article, upon which he wished 
to examine the accused ; and the reading lasted so long, that 
it was half-past ten o'clock before it was finished. He then 

* Fouquet's daughter. „ 

f Boucherat, then master of requests, and afterward chancellor, had 
been appointed to put the seals on the papers of the superintendent. 
He was on the commission charged with the prosecution. 



304 LETTERS TO 

said, " Let Fouquet be brought in ;" but corrected himself im 
mediately by saying " M. Fouquet ;" as, however, he had not 
directed the prisoner to be sent for, he was still at the Bastille. 
A messenger was then dispatched for him, and he arrived at 
eleven o'clock. He was questioned respecting the grants, 
and answered extremely well ; but he was a little at a loss as 
to certain dates, which would have injured him considerably, 
if the examiner had been skillful and awake ; but, instead of 
this, the chancellor was asleep. This was observed by M. 
Fouquet, who would have laughed heartily, if he had dared. 
At length the chancellor roused himself, and continued the 
examination ; and though M. Fouquet rested too much on a 
prop that might have failed him, the event proved that he 
knew what he was about ; for, in his misfortune, he has cer- 
tain little advantages that belong exclusively to himself. If 
they go on slowly every day, the trial will last a long time. 

I shall write to you every evening ; but I shall not send my 
letter till Saturday or Sunday evening : it will give you an 
account of the proceedings of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 
and I will contrive that you shall receive one on Thursday, 
informing you of the proceedings of Monday, Tuesday, and 
Wednesday : in this way your letters will not be long de- 
tained. I beg my compliments to your recluse, and to your 
better half. I say nothing of your dear neighbor ; it will soon 
be my turn to give you news of her myself. 



LETTER IV. 

Thursday, November 2Y, 1664. 
The examination upon the subject of the grants was re- 
sumed to-day. The chancellor kindly endeavored to drive 
M. Fouquet to extremities, and to embarrass him, but he did 
not succeed. M. Fouquet acquitted himself admirably ; he 
did not come into the chamber of justice till eleven o'clock, 
because the chancellor made the reporter read as before ; but 



M. DE POMPONNE 305 

in spite of this parade of justice, he said the worst he could 
of our poor friend. The reporter* always took his part, be- 
cause the chancellor evidently leaned to the other side of the 
question. At last he said, " Here is a charge to which the 
accused will not be able to answer." " And here, sir," said 
the reporter, " is a plaster that will cure the weakness ;" he 
made an excellent justification of him, and then added : " In 
the place in which I stand, sir, I shall always speak the truth, 
in whatever form it presents itself to me." 

This allusion to a plaster called forth a smile from the au- 
dience, as it reminded them of the one that has lately made 
so much noise at court. The accused was then brought in ; 
he only remained an hour in court ; and, on his leaving it, 
M. d'Ormesson was complimented by several persons upon his 
firmness. 

I must relate to you what I myself did. Some ladies pro- 
posed to me to accompany them to a house exactly op- 
posite the arsenal, where we could see the return of our poor 
friend. I was masked,f but my eye caught him the moment 
he was in view. M. d'Artagan was at his side, and fifty 
mousquetaires about thirty or forty steps behind him. He 
appeared thoughtful. The moment I saw him my legs 
trembled, and my heart beat so violently that I could scarcely 
support myself. In approaching us to re-enter his dungeon, 
M. d'Artagan pointed out to him that we were there, and 
he saluted us with the same delightful smile you have so 
often witnessed. I do not believe he recognized me ; but I 
own I was strangely affected when I saw him enter the little 
door. If you knew the misfortune of having a heart like 

* The reporter was M. d'Ormesson, one of the most respectable mag- 
istrates of his time. 

f It was still the custom for ladies to wear masks when they went 
abroad; a custom which is retained in Corneille's plays, and which was 
brought from Italy by the Medicis, with many other customs equally 
disagreeable. These masks of black velvet, to which the hups sue* 
ceeded, were intended as a preservative to the complexion. 



306 



LETTERS TO 



mine, I am sure you would pity me ; but from what I know 
of you, I do not think you have much the advantage of me 
in this point. I have been to see your dear neighbor. I pity 
you as much at losing her as I rejoice at her being with us. 
We have had a good deal of conversation upon the subject 
of our poor friend ; she has seen Sappho,* who has consider- 
ably raised her spirits. I shall go there to-morrow, to recruit 
my own ; for I often feel the want of consolation ; it is not 
that I do not hear a thousand things, that should inspire 
hope ; but alas ! my imagination is so lively, that every 
thing which is uncertain destroys me. 

Friday, November 28. 
The court opened early this morning. The chancellor said 
he had now to speak of the four loans : D'Ormesson observed, 
that it was a very unimportant affair, and one upon which no 
blame could be attached to M. Fouquet, as he had declared 
from the beginning. An attempt was made to contradict 
him : he begged leave to explain the matter according to his 
own view of it, and desired his colleagues to listen to him. 
The court was attentive, and he convinced them that it was 
a very trifling business. The accused was then ordered to be 
brought in > it was eleven o'clock. You will remark that he 
has never been more than an hour upon the sellette. The 
chancellor still wished to speak of the loans. M. Fouquet 
requested he might be allowed to state what he had omitted 
the day before, respecting the grants ; leave was given him, 
and he said wonders. The chancellor asked him, " Have you 
had your acquittance for the employment of this sum ?" He 
replied that he had, but that it was conjointly with other 
things which he had marked, and which will come in their 
course. "But," said the chancellor, "at the time you re- 
ceived these acquittances you had not incurred the expenses f 
" True," replied M. Fouquet, " but the sums were set apart 

* Mademoiselle Seudery, sister of the author, known under this 
name by an unfortunate fertility of imagination ; a woman who had 
more wit than her writings display, though they display a great deal. 



M. DE POMPONNE. 307 

for the purpose." " This is not enough," said the chancellor. 
" Pardon me, sir," said M. Fouquet ; " when I gave you your 
appointments, for instance, I sometimes received the acquit- 
tance a month beforehand, and as the sum was set apart, it 
was exactly the same as if it had been paid." u That is true," 
said the chancellor ; " I was much indebted to you." M. 
Fouquet replied that he had no intention to reproach him, 
and that he was at that time happ^ to serve him ; but the cir- 
cumstance had occurred to his mind, as an instance in point, 
and he could not help making use of it. 

The court has closed till Monday. They seem determined 
to prolong the affair as much as possible. Puis*** has prom- 
ised to give the accused as few opportunities of speaking as 
he can. The fact is, they are afraid of him. They would, 
therefore, interrogate him summarily, and even pass over some 
of the articles ; but he is determined they shall not do this, 
nor will he suffer them to judge his cause without his being 
permitted to justify himself upon every separate head of accu- 
sation. Puis*** is in continual apprehension of offending 
Petit. He excused himself the other day by saying that 
M. Fouquet had certainly spoken too long, but that he 
had no means of interrupting him. Ch*** is constantly be- 
hind the screen whenever the examinations take place ; he 
hears all that is said, and offers to go to the judges and explain 
the reasons by which he is led to draw such opposite conclu- 
sions. All this is irregular, and shows a great inveteracy 
against the unfortunate prisoner. I own I have no longer any 
hope. Adieu, sir, till Monday. I wish you could see my 
heart, you would then be convinced of the sincerity of a friend- 
ship which you profess to prize. 



LETTER V. 

Two days ago every one believed that it was intended to 
protract M. Fouquet's affair as much as possible ; but now the 



308 LETTERS TO 

reverse of this appears to be the case, and the interrogations 
are hurried over in a most extraordinary manner. This morn- 
ing the chancellor took his paper and read; as he would an in- 
ventory, ten heads of accusation, without giving the accused 
time to reply. M. Fouquet said, " I do not wish, sir, to pro- 
long the business, but I entreat you to give me time to answer 
the charges that are brought against me. You question me, 
and it appears as if you did not wish me to reply ; but it is 
of consequence to me to speak. There are many articles I 
must explain ; and it is but justice that I should answer to all 
those which are formally alleged against me." The court was 
then obliged to attend, contrary to the wishes of the ill-dis- 
posed, who could not bear to hear him defend himself so ably. 
He answered extremely well to every accusation. The trial 
will now go on, but will be conducted so rapidly that I expect 
the examination will close this week. I have just been sup- 
ping at the Hotel de Nevers ; the mistress of the house and I 
conversed a good deal upon this subject. We are uneasy to a 
degree, which you only can comprehend, for I bave just re- 
ceived your letter ; it surpasses even my own feelings upon the 
subject. You put my modesty to too great a trial in asking 
me upon what terms I am with you and your dear recluse. It 
seems to me that I see him and hear him say what you tell 
me. I am quite piqued that it was not I who metamorphosed 
Pierrot to Tartuffe ;* it was so natural that if I had half the 
wit you ascribe to me, it would have flowed mechanically from 
my pen. 

I must relate to you a little anecdote, which is perfectly true, 
and which can not fail to amuse you. The king has lately 
employed himself in making verses ; Messieurs de Saint Aignan 
and Dangeau put him in the way of it. He wrote a little 
madrigal the other day with which he was not much pleased. 
One morning he said to Marshal de Grammont, " M. le mare- 
chal, read this little madrigal, if you please, and tell me if you 
ever saw so silly a one ; because it is known that I have lately 

* The Chancellor Seguier's name was Pierre. 



M. DE P0MP0NNE. 309 

been fond of poetry they bring me all the nonsense that is 
written." The marshal having read it, said to the king, " Your 
majesty is an excellent judge of every thing : this is certainly 
without exception the most silly and ridiculous madrigal I ever 
read." The king laughed, and continued, " Must not the writer 
be a great fool ?" " There is no other name for him," said the 
marshal. " O !" said the king, " how delighted I am that you 
have spoken your sentiments so freely ! I am myself the author 
of it." " Ah ! sire, what treason have I uttered ! I entreat 
your majesty to give it me again. I read it hastily." " No, 
M. le marechal ; the first sentiments are always the most na- 
tural." The king was very much entertained at this little 
frolic ; but those about him thought it the most cruel thing 
that could be done to an old courtier. For myself, I love to 
make reflections, and I wish the king would reflect in like 
manner on this adventure, that he might see how far he is 
from knowing the truth. We are upon the point of experien- 
cing a still more painful instance of royal delusion, in the re- 
purchase of our rents, at an expense that will send us all to 
the workhouse. The emotion it occasions is great, but the 
hardship is greater. Do you not think this is undertaking too 
much at once ? The loss of a part of my income is not the 
point that affects me the most. 

Tuesday, December 2. 

Our dear unfortunate friend spoke for two hours this morn- 
ing, but so uncommonly well that several persons could not 
help expressing their admiration. Among others, M. de Re- 
nard said, " This man, it must be owned, is incomparable ; he 
never spoke so well in the parliament ; he maintains his self- 
possession better than he has ever done." The subject was the 
six millions, and his own expenses. Nothing could exceed 
what he said. I shall write to you on Thursday and on Fri- 
day ; these will be the last days of the examination, and I 
shall go on to the end. 

God grant my last letter may contain the information I so 



21Q LETTERS TO 

ardently wish. Adieu, my dear sir ; desire our recluse (Ar- 
nauld) to pray for our poor friend. I heartily embrace you 
both, and, for modesty's sake, I include your wife. 

IN CONTINUATION. 

Tranquillity reigns throughout the family of the unfortu- 
nate Fouquet. It is said that M. de Nesmond declared on 
his death-bed, that his greatest sorrow was that he had not 
excepted to these two judges ; that if he had lived to the end 
of the trial he would have repaired his fault, and that he 
prayed God to pardon his error. 

M. Fouquet, as I observed before, spoke to-day two com- 
plete hours, upon the subject of the six millions ; he command- 
ed attention, and performed wonders. Every one was affected 
in his way. Puissort made gestures of disbelief and disappro- 
bation, that shocked every honest man in court. 

When M. Fouquet had done, M. Puissort rose impetuously, 
and said, "Thank God* it can never be said that he has not 
had his bellyful of speaking." What say you to this speech ? 
Was it not worthy of a judge ? It is said that the chancel- 
lor is very much alarmed at the erysipelas that occasioned the 
death of M. de Nesmond, fearing there may be a repetition 
of the judgment in store for himself. If the apprehension 
could inspire him with the sentiments of a man about to ap- 
pear before God, it would be something ; but it will be said of 
him, I fear, as of Argante, e mori come visse ;* he died as he 
lived. 

"Wednesday, December 3. 
I have received your letter ; it has proved to me that I 
have not obliged a person who is ungrateful ; nothing can be 
more kind, nothing more gratifying. I must be wholly ex- 
empt from vanity to be insensible to such praises. I assure 
you, I am delighted at the good opinion, you entertain of my 

* Gerusalemme Liberata, canto 19 ; the verse runs thus: 
Moriva Argante, e tal moria qual visse. 



M. DE POMPONNE. 311 

heart, and I further assure you, without meaning compliment 
for compliment, that my esteem for you infinitely surpasses 
the power of ordinary language to express, and that I experi- 
ence real pleasure and consolation in being able to inform 
you of events in which we are both so much interested. I 
am very glad your dear recluse takes her part in them ; I sup- 
posed you would make them known also to your incompara- 
ble neighbor. You gratify me extremely in telling me that I 
have made some progress in her heart ; there is no one in 
whose affections I would more gladly establish myself, and 
when I would indulge in a little gayety, I think of her and 
her enchanted palace. But I return to business, from which I 
have been insensibly led, to tell you of the sentiments I enter- 
tain for yourself and your amiable friend. 

M. Fouquet was upon the selette again to-day. The Abbe 
d'Effiat bowed to him, as he passed. In returning his bow, 
he said to him, with the same enchanting smile we have so 
often observed, " Sir, I am your very humble servant." The 
abbe was so much affected that he could not speak. 

As soon as M. 'Fouquet was in tht; chamber, the chancel- 
lor desired him to be seated. He replied, " Sir, you took ad- 
vantage, yesterday, of my placing myself upon the sellette : 
you infer from my doing so that I acknowledge the authority 
of the court ; as that is the case, I beg leave to stand." The 
chancellor then told him he might withdraw. M. Fouquet re- 
plied, " I do not mean by this to advance any new objection ; 
I only wish to make my protestation, as usual, and, the charge 
being cited against me, to be permitted to reply." 

This was agreed to. He then seated himself, and the ex- 
amination respecting the pension of the gabelles was resumed, 
to which he replied admirably. If this mode continue, the 
interrogations will be favorable to him. The spirit and firm- 
ness he displays are the subject of general conversation at 
Paris. He has asked one thing of a friend which makes me 
tremble : he has entreated him to let him know his sentence, 
whether favorable or otherwise, in some private way, by sig- 



312 LETTERS TO 

nal, the instant it is pronounced, that he may have time to 
reconcile himself to his fate before it be announced to him 
officially ; adding, that if he has half an hour to prepare him- 
self, he shall hear without emotion the worst that can be told 
him. This has made me weep, and I am certain it will affect 
you also very painfully. 

There were few persons at the examination, on account of 
the queen's illness ; she was supposed to be dying, but is now 
somewhat better. Yesterday evening she received the viati- 
cum. It was the most affecting and solemn spectacle that 
can be imagined, to see the king and the whole court going 
for the holy sacrament, and conducting it to the palace. It 
was received with a profusion of lights. The queen made an 
effort to rise, and took it with a devotion that reduced every 
one to tears. It was not without difficulty that she had 
been brought to consent ; the king was the only one who 
could make her listen to reason ; to every other person she 
said that she was very willing to receive the communion, but 
not the viaticum ; it was full two hours before she could be 
prevailed upon. 

The general approbation that is given to M. Fouquet's an- 
swers, is very grating to Petit* It is. even thought he will 
engage Puis*** to feign illness, in order to interrupt the tor- 
rent of admiration, and to have time himself to take breath at 

* Petit is a feigned name, meant either for Le Tellier or Colbert* 
With regard to Puis***, as, from the sense of the expressions, he must 
be one of the judges against Fouquet, there is little doubt that Puissort 
is the person alluded to ; and what is said of him in the preceding Let- 
ters must be so understood. 

It may further be remarked that the conduct of Colbert and Le Tel- 
lier, in this business, was extremely well characterized by a criticism 
of the great Turenne, who interested himself warmly for Fouquet. To 
some one who blamed the violence of Colbert, and praised the modera- 
tion of Le Tellier, Turenne replied, " True, sir; M. Colbert has most 
desire that he should be hanged, and M. Le Tellier most fear lest he 
should not be." 



M. DE POMPONNE. 313 

this, and other instances of his ill success. I am the most 
obedient servant of the dear recluse, of your lady, and the 
adorable Amalthee. 



LETTER VL 

Thursday, December 4, 1664. 
At length the examinations are over. M. Fouquet entered 
the chamber this morning. The chancellor ordered his pro- 
ject against the state to be read throughout. M. Fouquet 
spoke first upon the subject. " I believe, sir," said he, u you 
can derive nothing from this paper, but the effect it has just 
produced, of overwhelming me with confusion." The chan- 
cellor replied, " You have yourself heard and seen by it that 
your regard for the state, which you have so much insisted 
upon in court, was not so considerable but that you would 
have embroiled it from one end to the other." " Sir," replied 
M. Fouquet, " this idea occurred to me only in the height of 
the despair in which the cardinal often placed me ; especially 
when, after contributing more than any man in the world to 
his return to France, I found myself repaid by the basest in- 
gratitude. I had a letter from himself, and one from the 
queen-mother, in proof of what I say ; but they have been 
taken away with my papers, as have several letters. It is to 
be lamented that I did not burn this unfortunate paper which 
had so completely escaped my mind and my memory that I 
have been nearly two years without thinking of it or knowing 
even that it existed. However this affair may terminate, I disown 
it with my whole heart, and I entreat you, sir, to believe, that 
my regard for the person and the service of the king has never 
been in the slightest degree diminished." " It is very difficult 
to believe this," said the chancellor, " when we see such con- 
trary sentiments expressed at a different period." M. Fouquet 
replied, u At no period, sir, even though at the hazard of my 

life, have I ever abandoned the king's person ; and at the time 

14 



314 LETTERS TO 

in question, you, sir, were at the head of the council of his 
enemies, and your relations gave free passage to the army 
against him." 

The chancellor felt this stroke ; but our poor friend was irri- 
tated, and therefore not quite master of himself. The subject 
of his expenses was afterward introduced. "I undertake," 
said he, " to prove that I have not incurred a single expense 
which, either by means of my private income, with which the 
cardinal was well acquainted, or my appointments, or my 
wife's fortune, I was not able to afford ; and if I do not prove 
this satisfactorily, I consent to be treated with the utmost igno- 
miny." In short, this interrogation lasted two hours; M. 
Fouquet defended himself ably, but with a degree of warmth 
and petulance ; the reading of the project having ruffled him 
exceedingly. 

When he had left the court, the chancellor said, " This is 
the last time we shall interrogate him." M. Poncet then went 
up to the chancellor, and said, " You have made no mention, 
sir, of the proofs there are that he had attempted to put his 
project against the state into execution." The chancellor re- 
plied, " They are not, sir, sufficiently strong ; he would have 
refuted them too easily." Upon which Saint Helene and 
Puissort said, " Every one is not of that opinion." This is a 
subject to muse upon. The rest to-morrow. 

Friday, December 5. 
This morning the subject of the requests was mentioned, 
which are of little importance except that there are persons, 
not ill disposed, who wish the sentence to refer to them. The 
business on the side of the prosecution is at an end. It is now 
M. d'Ormesson's turn to speak ; he is to recapitulate the sev- 
eral matters. This will occupy the whole of the next week, 
during which the time we shall pass can scarcely be called 
living. For myself, you would hardly know me, and I do not 
think I can hold out so long. M. d'Ormesson has desired me 
not to see him again till the business is over : he is in the con- 



M. DE POMPONNE. 815 

clave, and will have intercourse with no one. He affects great 
reserve ; he listens to me, but does not answer. I had the 
pleasure, in bidding him adieu, to acquaint him with my sen- 
timents. I will inform you of all I hear. God grant my last 
tidings may be good ; I desire it fervently. I assure you we 
are all very much to be pitied. I mean you and I, and all 
who, like ourselves, are interested in the event. Adieu, my 
dear sir : I am so dull this evening, and my heart is so much 
oppressed that I must conclude. 



LETTER VII. 

Tuesday, December 9, 1664. 
1 assure you the days pass very tediously ; suspense is ex- 
tremely painful : but it is an evil to which the whole family 
of the unfortunate prisoner is habituated. I have seen, and 
can not sufficiently express my admiration of them. It seems 
as if they had never known, never read, the events that have 
taken place in former times. What surprises me most is, that 
Sappho is just like the rest ; she, whose understanding and 
penetration are unlimited. When I reflect upon this circum- 
stance, I persuade myself, or, at least, I wish to persuade my- 
self, that they know more of the matter than I do. When I 
reason too with others, on whose judgment I can rely, and 
who are less prejudiced, because less interested, I find all our 
measures so just that it will be really a miracle if the business 
does not terminate according to our wishes. We are some- 
times only lost by a single voice, but that voice is every thing. 
I remember, however, the recusations, respecting which these 
poor women thought themselves so sure, and we lost them by 
five to seventeen ; since that time their confidence has been 
my distrust. Yet I have a little spark of hope in my heart ; 
I hardly know from whence it comes, nor whither it would 
lead, nor is it sufficient to make me sleep in peace. I talked 
over this affair yesterday with Madame du Plessis ;* I can see 
* Madame du Plessis Belliere, the intimate friend of Fouquet. He 



SI 6 LETTERS TO 

nobody, but those who will converse with me on the subject, 
and who are of the same opinion as myself. She hopes, as I 
do, without knowing the reason. " Why do you hope ?" " Be- 
cause I do ;" this is our answer ; a notable one, it must be 
confessed, I told her, with the greatest sincerity in the world, 
that if the sentence should be in conformity to our wishes, the 
height of my joy would be to dispatch instantly a man on 
horseback with the pleasing intelligence to you ; and that the 
pleasure of picturing the delight I should give you, would ren- 
der my own delight complete. She perfectly agreed with me ; 
and our imagination gave us more than a quarter of an hour's 
holiday on the occasion. I must correct my last day's report 
of the examination respecting the project against the state. I 
related it to you exactly as I heard it ; but the same person 
has since tasked his memory, and told it to me over again 
more accurately. Every body has heard it from the different 
judges. After M. Fouquet had said that the only effect that 
could be drawn from this project was the confusion the read- 
ing it had occasioned him, the chancellor observed, " You can 
not deny that this is a crime against the state." " I confess, 
sir," he replied, " that it is a foolish and extravagant thing, but 
not a crime against the state. I entreat you, gentlemen," said 
he, turning toward the judges, " to suffer me to explain what 
constitutes a state crime ; not that I consider you less capable 
of defining it than myself, but I have had more time perhaps 
than you to examine the question. A crime against the state, 
is when a person, holding an important office, and being in 
the secrets of a prince, suddenly goes over to the side of his 
enemy, engages his whole family in the same interests, opens 
the gates of a city, of which he is the governor, to the foe, 
shuts them against his lawful sovereign, and reveals to his 
enemy the secrets of the state. This, gentlemen, is what is 
called a state crime." The chancellor did not know which way 

had commissioned her to take his papers from his house at St. Mande. 
She was not in due time to execute it. She was at first exiled, and 
afterward recalled. She died in 1705. aged 100 years. 



M. DE POMPONNE, 31*5 

to look, and the judges could scarcely refrain from laughter. 
This is the truth without any embellishment. You will agree 
with me, that nothing could be more spirited, more delicate in 
its satire, and at the same time more diverting. 

The whole kingdom knows and admires the prisoner's reply 
on this occasion. He afterward entered minutely into his de- 
fense, and said what I told you before. I should have been 
quite unhappy if you had not known this circumstance, and 
our dear friend would have lost much by it. This morning M. 
d'Ormesson began the recapitulation. He spoke well and 
clearly. On Thursday he will give his opinion ; his colleague 
will then speak for two days ; it will take several more for the 
rest to give their opinions. Some of the judges say that they 
shall enlarge a great deal upon the subject, so that we have to 
languish in expectation till next week. In this state of sus- 
pense we can scarcely be said to live. 

"Wednesday, December 10. 
M. d'Ormesson has continued the recapitulation ; he has 
done wonders, that is, he has spoken with extraordinary clear- 
ness, intelligence, and ability. Puissort interrupted him five or 
six times, with no other intention than to embarrass him, and 
prevent his speaking so well : he said to him in one instance, 
where his argument went strongly in favor of M. Fouquet, 
" Sir, we shall speak after you, we shall speak after you." 



LETTER VHI. 

Thursday, December 11, 1664. 
M. d'Ormesson has not yet finished. When he came to the 
article of the gold mark, Puissort said, " This speaks strongly 
against the accused." " It may be so," said M. d'Ormesson, 
but there are no proofs." u What !" said Puissort, " have not 
the two officers been examined V " No," replied M. d'Ormes- 
son. " It can not be," said Puissort " I can find no such 



o 



18 LETTERS TO 



thing in the proceedings," said M. d'Ormesson. Upon this, 
Puissort rose in a fury, and said, " Sir, you ought rather to say, 
I find here a very gross omission." M. d'Ormesson made no 
answer, but if Puissort had addressed another word to him, he 
would have replied, " I am here, sir, as a judge, and not as an 
informer." You may remember what I once said to you at 
Fresne, that M. d'Ormesson would not discover the omission 
till there was no remedy. The chancellor also interrupted M. 
d'Ormesson several times ; he told him it was not necessary to 
speak of the project. This must be from malice ; for many 
will suppose it a great crime, and the chancellor would be glad 
that the proofs, which are truly ridiculous, should be with- 
held, that the idea which prevails might not be weakened. As, 
however, it is one of the articles of the indictment, M. d'Or- 
messon will not omit it. He will finish to-morrow. Sainte- 
Helene will speak on Saturday. On Monday the two reporters 
will give their opinion, and on Tuesday, the whole committee 
will assemble early in the .morning, and not separate till judg- 
ment be passed. I tremble when I think of this day. The 
hopes of the family are very sanguine. Faucault goes about 
every where, and shows a writing of the king's, in which he is 
made to say that he should think it very improper if any of 
the judges leaned toward the prisoner, from the circumstance 
of his papers being taken away ; that it was he who ordered 
it to be done ; that there is not one that can be of use to the 
prisoner in his defense ; that they are papers that relate merely 
to his office ; and that he makes this known that the judges 
may not draw improper inferences. What say you to this 
magnanimous proceeding ? Are you not grieved that a prince, 
who would love justice and truth if he were left to himself, 
should be prevailed upon to act thus ? He said the other day 
at his levee, that Fouquet was a dangerous man ; this has been 
put into his head by some one. In short, our enemies no 
longer keep within bounds ; they run at full speed ; threats, 
promises, every thing is resorted to ; but if God be on our side, 
we shall be stronger than they. You will perhaps have an- 



M. DE POMPONNE. 319 

other letter from me ; if we have good news, I shall dispatch 
an express to you, with all possible expedition ; but how I 
shall act, or what will become of me, in any other case, I am 
at a loss to conjecture. A thousand compliments to our re- 
cluse, and to your better half. Pray earnestly to God for our 
fcvend. 

Saturday, December, 13. 
After having fixed and changed, and fixed and changed 
again, it was at length resolved that M. d'Ormesson should 
give his opinion to-day ; that Sunday might pass over, and 
Sainte-Helene begin anew on Monday, which would make a 
stronger impression. M. d'Ormesson's opinion was, that the 
accused should be sentenced to perpetual banishment, and his 
property confiscated to the king. M. d'Ormesson has by this 
means established his reputation as a judge, 'the sentence is a 
little severe,* but let us pray that no worse counsel may be 
given ; it is always glorious to be the first in an assault. 



LETTER IX. 



"Wednesday, December IT, 1664. 
You languish, my dear friend, after intelligence, and so do 
we. I was sorry I sent you word that judgment would be pro- 
nounced on Tuesday ; for, not hearing from me, you must have 
thought it was all over ; but our hopes are as strong as ever. 
I informed you, on Saturday, in what way M. d'Ormesson had 
reported the cause, and how he had voted, but I did riot suf- 
ficiently express the extraordinary esteem he has acquired by 
his conduct in this business. I have heard several of this pro- 
fession say that his speech was a master-piece ; that he ex- 

* Severe as it was, the king aggravated the punishment still more. 
Fouquet's dilapidations were certainly criminal, but Cardinal Mazarin 
gave less and took much more. The licentiousness of the times, and 
the force of example, were an excuse, if any excuse could be made. 



g20 LETTERS TO 

plained himself with great clearness, and rested his opinion 
upon the most convincing arguments : it was eloquence and 
grace combined. In short, no man had ever a finer op- 
portunity of making himself known, and no man ever made a 
better use of it. If he had wished to open his door to con- 
gratulations, his house would have been crowded ; but he was 
too modest for this, and kept out of the way. His colleague, 
Sainte-Helene, indignant at his success, spoke on Monday and 
Tuesday. He resumed the affair weakly and miserably, read- 
ing what he had to say, without adding any new circumstance 
or giving a different turn to it. He voted, but did not assign 
his reasons, that M. Fouquet should lose his head for his crime 
against the state ; and to gain votes on his side, he played the 
Normand, and alleged that it was probable the king, who 
alone could do it, would remit the sentence and pardon him, 
It was yesterday he performed this brilliant action, at which 
we were as much grieved as we had before been satisfied with 
the conduct of M. d'Ormesson. 

This morning Puissort spoke for four hours, but with so 
much vehemence, fury, rage, and rancor, that several of the 
judges were shocked ; and it is thought his intemperance will 
do more good than harm to our poor friend. He even re- 
doubled his violence toward the end, and said, upon the sub- 
ject of the crime against the state, that the example of a cer- 
tain Spaniard, who had so great a horror for a rebel that he 
ordered his house to be burned, because Charles of Bourbon 
had passed through it, ought to make us blush at our moder- 
ation ; that we had much greater reason to hold in abhorrence 
the crime of M. Fouquet ; that the halter and the gibbet were 
the only proper punishments for him ; but that, in considera- 
tion of the high offices he had held, and the noble families to 
which he was related, he would relax his opinion, and vote with 
M. de Sainte-Helene, that he be beheaded. 

What say you to this moderation ? Is it because he is the 
uncle of M. de Nesmond, and was excepted against, that he 
conducts himself so generously ? For my part, I can scarcely 



M. DE POMPONNE. 321 

contain myself when I think of this scandalous proceeding. I 
do not know whether judgment will be pronounced to-morrow, 
or the business be protracted to the end of the week. We 
have still many difficulties to encounter : but perhaps some 
one will side with M. d'Ormesson, whose opinion at present 
stands alone. 

But I have to beg your attention to two or three little inci- 
dents, which are no less extraordinary than true. In the first 
place, then, a comet made its appearance about four days ago. 
It was announced, at first, by some women only, who were 
laughed at for their pains ; but it has now been seen by every 
one. M. d'Artagan sat up last night, and saw it very distinctly. 
M. de Neure, a great astronomer, says it is of considerable 
magnitude. M. du Foin has seen it, with three or four other 
learned men. I have not seen it myself, but I intend sitting 
up to-night for the purpose : it appears about three o'clock. I 
tell you of this, ignorant whether you will be pleased or dis- 
pleased with the intelligence. 

Berrier, in the literal sense of the word, is become mad ; he 
has been bled profusely, and is in a perfect frenzy. He raves 
of wheels and gibbets, and has even mentioned particular 
trees ; he declares he is going to be hanged, and makes so 
dreadful a noise that his keepers are obliged to chain him. 
This is evidently a judgment of Providence, and a very just one, 
A criminal of the name of Lamothe, who was in prison and 
about to be tried, has deposed that Messrs. de B***,* C***, 
and B*** (they add also Puissort, or Poncet, but of him I 
am not so certain) urged him several times to implicate M. 
Fouquet and Lorme, promising if he would do so that they 
would obtain his pardon ; but he refused, and published the 
circumstance in court, before his trial took place. He was 
condemned to the galleys. The wife and mother of M. Fou- 
quet have procured a copy of the deposition, and will present 
it to-morrow at the chamber. Perhaps it will not be received, 

* M. de Boucherat was one of the commissioners : the other, B***, 

is, no doubt, Berrier. 

14* 



322 LETTERS TO 

because the judges are now giving their opinions ; but it may 
"be made known, and must produce a strong impression on the 
court. Is not all this very extraordinary ? 

I must tell you, also, of a heroic act of Masnau. He had 
been dangerously ill, for a whole week, of a bladder com- 
plaint ; he took a variety of medicines, and was at last bled, 
at midnight. The next morning, at seven o'clock, he insisted 
on being carried to the chamber of justice, where he suffered 
the most excruciating pain. The chancellor saw him turn 
pale, and said, " This is not a fit place for you, sir ; you had 
better retire." " True, sir," he replied, " but I may as well 
die here." The chancellor perceiving him ready to faint, and 
finding him bent upon remaining, said, " Well, sir, retire ; we 
will wait for you." Upon this he went out for a quarter of an 
hour, during which time he passed two stones, of so enormous 
a size, that it might be considered as a miracle, if men were 
deserving that God should work miracles in their favor. This 
worthy man then returned into court, gay and cheerful, every 
one astonished at the adventure. 

This is all I know. Every body is interested in this 
weighty affair. Nothing else is talked of. Men reason, infer, 
calculate, pity, fear, wish, hate, admire, are overwhelmed ; in 
short, my dear sir, our present situation is a most singular 
one ; but the resignation and firmness of our dear unfortu 
nate friend is perfectly heavenly. He knows every day what 
passes, and every day volumes might be written in his praise. 
1 beg you to thank your father* for the gratifying note he 
has written me, and the charming works he sent me. I have 
read them, though my head feels, alas, as if it were split into 
pieces. Tell him I am delighted he loves me a little— a 
great deal, I mean — and that I love him still more. I have 
received your last letter ; alas ! you overpay so abundantly 
the trifling services I render you, that I remain your debtor. 

* Arnaud d'Andilly, the translator of Josephus. 



M. DE POMPONNE. 823 



LETTER X. 

Friday, December 19, 1664. 
This is a day which gives us great hopes ; but I must go 
back in my story. I told you that M. Puissort had, on 
Wednesday, voted for the death of our friend ; on Thursday, 
Nogues, Gisaucourt, Feriol, and Peraut, voted in the same 
way. Roquesante concluded the day, and, after speaking 
well for an hour, sided with M. d'Ormesson. This morning 
our hopes have sailed before the wind, for several votes that 
were doubtful have been given : Toison, Masnau, Verdier, La 
Baume, and Catinet, and all in favor of M. d'Ormesson's opin- 
ion.* It was then Poncet's turn to speak ; but, thiuking that 
those who remained were almost all disposed to be lenient, he 
would not begin, though it was only eleven o'clock. It is 
thought he wishes to consult with some one what he shall 
say, and that he is not willing to bring disgrace upon him- 
self, and consign a man to death unnecessarily. Such is our 
present situation, and, though so favorable a one, our joy is 
not complete ; for you must know that M. H. is so enraged, 
that we expect some unjust and atrocious proceeding in con- 
sequence, that will plunge us again into despair. But for' 
this, my dear sir, we should have the satisfaction of seeing 
our friend, though unfortunate, yet safe, as far as his life is 
concerned, which is a great thing. We shall see what will 
happen to-morrow. We are now seven to six. Le Feron, 
Moussy, Brillac, Benard, Renard, Voisin, Pontchartrain, and 

* Names of the committee who judged Fouquet : 

FAVORABLE. 

D'Ormesson, Le Feron, Moussy, Brillac, Renard, 

Benard, Roquesante, La Toison, La Baume, Verdier, 

Masnau, Catinet, Pontchartrain. 

ADVERSE. 

St. Helene, Piussort, Gisaucourt, Feriol, NogueX 

Heraut, Poncet, Pore Seguier, The Chancellor. 



324 LETTERS TO 

the chancellor, have not yet voted ; but of these, we shall 
have by far the greater number. 

Saturday. 
Fall on your knees, sir, and return thanks to God ; the 
life of our poor friend is saved. Thirteen were of M. d'Or- 
messon's opinion, and nine of Sainte-Helene's. I am almost 
wild with joy. 

Sunday evening. 
I was sadly afraid some other person would have the pleas- 
ure of communicating to you the joyful tidings. My courier 
was not very diligent ; he said, on setting out, that he would 
sleep no where but at Livri ; he assures me, however, he was 
the first that arrived. Heavens ! how gratifying must the in- 
telligence have been to you ! How inconceivably sweet are 
the moments that relieve the heart on a sudden from the 
anguish of so painful a suspense ! It will be a long time 
before I shall lose the joy I received yesterday. It was, ic 
reality, too great — too much, almost, for me to bear. The 
poor man learned the news by signals, a few moments after 
judgment was pronounced, and I dare say felt it in all its 
extent. This morning the king sent the Chevalier du Guet 
to the mother and wife of M. Fouquet, recommending them 
both to go to Montlucon in Auvergne, the marquis and 
Marchioness of Charost to Ancenis, and the young Fou- 
quet to Joinville in Champagne. The good old lady sent 
word to the king that she was seventy-two years of age ; that 
she besought his majesty not to deprive her of her only re- 
maining son, the support of her life, which apparently was 
drawing near its close. The prisoner does not yet know his 
sentence. It is said he will be taken, to-morrow, to Pignerol, 
for the king has changed his banishment into imprisonment. 
His wife, contrary to all rule, is not permitted to see him. 
But let not this proceeding abate the least particle of your 
joy ; mine, if possible, is increased ; for I see in this more 
clearly the greatness of our victory. I shall faithfully relate 



M. DE POMPONNE. 325 

to you the sequel of this curious history. I have given you 
what has passed to-day ; the rest to-morrow. 

Tuesday evening. 

This morning, at ten o'clock, M. Fouquet was conducted to 
the chapel of the Bastille. Foucault held the sentence in his 
hand. " You must tell me your name, sir," said he, " that I 
may know whom I address." M. Fouquet replied, " You 
know very well who I am ; and as for my name, I will not 
give it here, as I refused to give it at the chamber of justice ; 
by the same rule, also, I protest against the sentence you are 
going to read to me." What passed being written down, 
Foucault put on his hat and read the sentence ; M. Fouquet 
heard it uncovered. Pecquet and Lavalee* were afterward 
separated from him, and the cries and tears of these poor 
men melted every heart that was not of iron ; they made so 
strange a noise that M. d'Artagnan was obliged to go and 
comfort them ; for it seemed to them as if a sentence of 
death had just been read to their master. They were both 
lodged in the Bastille, and it is not known what will be 
done with them. 

M. Fouquet went to the apartment of M. d'Artagnan : while 
he was there, he saw M. d'Ormesson, who came for some papers 
that were in the hands of M. d'Artagnan, pass by the window. 
On perceiving him, M. Fouquet saluted him with an open 
countenance, expressive of joy and gratitude ; he even cried 
out to him that he was his humble servant. M. d'Ormesson 
returned the salutation with very great civility, and came with 
grief of heart to tell me what had" passed. 

At eleven o'clock a coach was ready, into which M. Fouquet 
entered, with four guards. M. d'Artagnan was on horseback 
with fifty musqueteers ; he will escort him to Pignerol, where 
he will leave him in prison, in the care of a man of the name 
of St. Mars, who is a very honest fellow : he will have fifty 
soldiers to guard his prisoner. I do not know whether an- 

* His physician and his servant. 



326 LETTERS TO 

other servant has been allowed our friend ; you can form no 
idea how cruel the circumstance of taking Pecquet and Lava- 
lee from him appears to every one : some even go so far as to 
draw dreadful inferences from it. May God preserve him, as 
he has hitherto done : in him we must put our trust, and 
leave our friend to the protection of that Providence which 
has been so gracious to him. They still refuse him his wife, 
but have permitted the mother to remain at Pare, with the 
abbess her daughter. L'Ecuyer will follow his sister-in-law ; 
he has declared that he has no other means of subsistence. 
M« and Madame de Charost are going immediately to Ancenis. 
M. Bailly, the attorney-general, has been turned out of office, 
for having said to Gisaucourt, before judgment was pro- 
nounced, that he ought to retrieve the honor of the Grand 
Council, which would.be disgraced if C***, Poncet, and him- 
self acted together in the business. I am sorry for this upon 
your account: it is a rigorous measure. Tantcene animis 
ccelestibus irce ?* 

But no, it does not mount so high as that. Such harsh and 
low revenge can not proceed from a heart like that of our 
monarch's. His name is employed, and, as you see, profaned. 
I will let you know the rest : how much better could we con- 
verse upon these things ! it is impossible to communicate by 
letter all we have to say. Adieu, my dear sir, I have not so 
much modesty as you, and, without taking refuge in the 
crowd, I assure you I love and esteem you highly. I have 
seen the comet ; its train is of a beautiful length. I partly 
found my hopes on it. A thousand compliments to your dear 
wife. 

Tuesday. 

I send you something to amuse you for a few minutes. You 
will certainly find it worth reading. It is charity to entertain 
you both in your solitude. If the friendship I bear the father 
and the son were a remedy against dullness, it is an evil of 
which you would never have to complain. I am just come 

* Virgil's JEneid, lib. i. 



M. DE POMPONNE. 327 

from a place where, it seems, I have renewed this sentiment, by 
talking of you with five or six persons, male and female, who, 
like me, rank themselves among your friends ; it was at the 
Hotel de Nevers. Your wife was of the party ; she will tell 
you of the delightful little comedians we met there. I believe 
our dear friend is arrived, but I have had no certain intelligence. 
It is only known that M. d'Artagnan, continuing his obliging 
manners, gave him the necessary fur clothing, that he might 
pass the mountains without inconvenience. I know also that 
M. d'Artagnan has received letters from the king, and that he 
told M. Fouquet to keep up his spirits and his courage, and 
that eveiy thing would go well. We are always looking for- 
ward to some mitigation, and I in particular : hope has been 
too kind for me to abandon it. Whenever I see the king at 
our ballets, these two lines of Tasso come into my head : 

Goffredo ascolta, e in rigida sembianza 
Porge piu di timor che di speranza.* 

But I care not to despond : we must follow the example of 
our poor prisoner ; he is tranquil and gay ; let us be so too. 
It will give me real pleasure to see you here. I can not think 
your exile will be of long duration. Assure your good father 
of my affection ; I can not help expressing myself thus ; and 
let me know your opinion of the stanzas. Some of them are 
admired, as well as some of the couplets. 



LETTER XL 

Thursday Evening, January, 1665. 
At length, the mother, the daughter-in-law, and the brother 
have obtained leave to be together ; they are going to Mont- 

* Godfrey attends, and with a brow severe 
But little gives to hope, and much to fear. 

Hoole's Translation. 



328 LETTERS TO 

lucon in the heart of Auvergne. The mother had permission 
to go to Parc-aux-Dames to her daughter, but her daughter-in- 
law has prevailed on her to accompany her. M. and Madame 
de Charost are on their way to Aucenis. Pecquet and Lavalee 
are still in the Bastille. Can any thing be more dreadful than 
this injustice ? They have given M. Fouquet another servant. 
M. d'Artagnan was his only comfort in his journey. It is said 
that the person who is to have the care of him at Pignerol is 
a very worthy creature. God grant he may be so ! or rather, 
God protect our friend ! He has already protected him so 
visibly that we ought to think he has an especial care of him. 
La Foret, his old esquire, accosted him as he was going away. 
" I am delighted to see you," said Fouquet to him ; " I know 
your fidelity and affection : tell my wife and mother not to 
despair, that my courage remains, and that I am in good 
health." Is not this admirable ? Adieu, my dear sir ; let us 
be like him ; let us have courage, and dwell on the joy occa- 
sioned by the glorious sentence of Saturday. 
Madame de Grignan is dead.* 

Friday Evening. 
It seems, by your thanks, as if you were giving me my dis- 
missal ; but I will not receive it yet. I intend to write to you 
whenever I please, and as soon as I have the verses from Ponfc- 
neuf, I shall send them to you. Our dear friend is still upon 
the road : it was reported that he had been ill ; every body 
exclaimed, "What! already?" It was reported also that M. 
d'Artagnan had sent to court to know what he was to do with 
his sick prisoner, and that he had been answered unfeelingly, 
that he must proceed with him, however ill he might be. 
This is all false : but it shows the general feeling, and the 
danger of furnishing materials with which to build whatever 
horrid castles we please. Pecquet and Lavalee are still in the 
Bastille : this conduct is truly unaccountable. The chamber 
will be resumed after the Epiphany. 

* Ange'lique Claire d'Angennes, M. de Grignan's first wife. 



M. DE POMPONNE. 829 

I should think the poor exiles must be arrived ere this at 
the place of their destination. When our poor friend has 
reached his, I will inform you ; for we must follow him to 
Pignerol : would to God we could bring him thence to the 
place we wish !* And how much longer, my dear sir, will 
be your exile ? I often think of this. A thousand compli- 
ments to your father. I have been told your wife is here : I 
shall call upon her. I supped last night with one of your lady 
friends, and we talked of paying you a visit. 

* It was the general opinion that Fouquet died in prison in the year 
1680. See Le Steele de Louis XIV, } and the note at the beginning of 
the letter dated April 3, 1680. 



LETTEKS TO HER SON THE MARQUIS DE 

SEVIGNE.* 



LETTER I. 

Paeis, August 5, 1684. 
While I am expecting your letters, I must relate to you a 
very amusing little history. You remember how much you 
regretted Mademoiselle de ***, and how unfortunate you 
thought yourself in having missed her for a wife : " Your 
best friends had all conspired against your happiness ; Mad- 
ame de Lavardin and Madame de la Fayette had done you 
irreparable injury ! A young lady of noble birth, great 
beauty, and ample fortune, was lost to you ; surely a man 
must be doomed never to marry, and to die like a beggar, to 
let such an opportunity escape him, when it was in his own 
power! The Marquis de *** was not such a fool; he has 
made his fortune, and is settled. You must certainly have 
been born under an unlucky planet to miss such a match ! 
Only observe her conduct ; she is a saint ; an example to all 
married women." You remember all this, I suppose, my dear 

* This only son of Madame de Sevigne inherited neither her genius, 
her virtues, nor her energy of character. She treated him always with 
great kindness, but was never blind to his faults. Her judicious man- 
agement seems to have had a salutary effect on him, after the follies 
of his youth were over. He reformed in a measure, and, in 1684, mar- 
ried Jeanne Marguerite de Brenant de Mauron. of a noble and rich 
family. This alliance was a great joy to Madame de Sevigne, and it 
is to the illness of this beloved daughter-in-law that she alludes in the 
second letter. 



LETTERS TO HER SON THE MARQUIS. 331 

son, and that till you married Mademoiselle de Mauron, you 
were ready to hang yourself; you could not have done better 
than you have done : but now for the sequel. 

All those amiable qualities of her youth, which made Mad- 
ame de la Fayette say she would not have her for a daughter- 
in-law if she could bring millions to her son, were happily di- 
rected to the service of religion : God was her lover, the only 
object of her affection, all her desires centered in this single 
passion ; but as every thing was in extremes with her, her 
poor head could not bear the excess of zeal and fervent devo- 
tion with which it was filled ; and, to satisfy the overflowings 
of her Magdalen heart, she resolved to profit by good ex- 
amples, by reading the Lives of the Holy Fathers of the Desert, 
and of Female Penitents. She wished to become herself the 
heroine of such admirable histories, and,- full of this idea, left 
her house and family about a fortnight ago, and, taking with 
her only five or six pistoles, and a little foot-boy, set out at 
four o'clock in the morning, and, taking a post-chaise at the 
skirts of the town, drove to Rouen, fatigued and covered with 
mud. When she got there, she bargained for a passage in a 
ship bound for the Indies : it was there, it seems, God had 
called her ; it was there she was to lead a life of penitence 
and humiliation ; it was there the map had pointed out to her 
an abode, which invited her to pass the rest of her days in 
sackcloth and ashes ; it was there the Abbe Zosimus* was to 
visit her, and administer to her the last holy rites before she 
expired. Satisfied with this resolution, and convinced that 
Heaven inspired her with it, she discharged her foot-boy, and 
sent him home to his own country, while she waited with 
great impatience the departure of the ship: her good angel 
consoled her for the delay; she piously forgot husband, 
daughter, father, and relations, exclaiming : 

* A famous hermit of the sixth century, who came on the eve of 
every Good Friday to give the sacrament to St. Mary the Egyptian, in 
a desert cave on the banks of the river Jordan. See the Lives of the 
Fathers of the Desert. 



332 LETTERS TO 

£a! courage, mon coeur, point de faiblesse humaine.* 

And now the moment arrived in which her prayers are 
heard ; the happy moment that was to separate her for ever 
from her native land ; she follows the law of the Gospel ; she 
leaves all to follow Christ. 

In the mean time, however, her family missed her, and 
finding she did not return to dinner, sent to all the churches 
in the neighborhood ; she was not there. They supposed she 
would return at night ; no tidings were heard of her. They 
now begin to be uneasy, the servants are all questioned, they 
can give no account of her further than that she had taken 
her foot-boy with her. " She must certainly be at her coun- 
try-house." No. " Where can she possibly be ?" A messenger 
is dispatched to the Cure of St. Jacques-du-Haut-Pas ; the 
cure says he has not had the direction of her conscience for a 
considerable time ; for, being a simple, honest man, and hav- 
ing observed her full of strange chimerical ideas of religion, 
he would have nothing to do with her. Every one was no\* 
at a loss what to think ; two, three, four days, a week passed, 
still no news of her ; at length her friends thought of sending 
to some of the sea-ports, and, by mere accident, found her at 
Rouen, on the point of setting out for Dieppe, and from thence 
to the other extremity of the globe. They secure her, and 
bring her back, a little disconcerted at being disappointed of 
her journey : 

J'allais, j'etais, l'amour a sur moi tant d'empire.f 

A lady to whom she had imparted her design, revealed the 
whole to her family, who, in despair at her folly, would fain 
have concealed it from her husband, who happened to be ab- 
sent from Paris at that time, and who would have been better 
pleased at an exploit of gallantry in his amiable consort, than 
such a ridiculous expedition as this. The husband's mother 

* Courage, my heart ! disdain all human weakness. 
t I went, I came, impelled by mighty Love. 



HER SON THE MARQUIS. 333 

came to Madame de Lavardin, and, bathed in tears, related the 
whole story, while the latter could scarcely refrain from laugh- 
ing in her face ; and the next time she saw my daughter, asked 
her if she could forgive her for having been the instrument of 
preventing her brother from marrying this pretty creature. 
Madame de la Fayette was also, in her turn, informed of this 
tragical story, and repeated it to me with great glee. She de- 
sires me to ask you if you are still angry with her ; she main- 
tains that no one can ever repent he did not marry a mad wo- 
man. 

"We dare not mention a syllable of this to Mademoiselle de 
Grignan,* her friend, who for some time past, has been rumi- 
nating upon a pilgrimage, and, as a preparative, has lately ob- 
served a profound silence toward us all. What think you of 
this curious narration ? Has it tired you ? Are you satisfied 
now ? Adieu, my son. Marshal de Schomberg is marching to 
Germany at the head of twenty-five thousand men, to hasten 
the emperor's signing.f The gazette will inform you of the 
rest. Adieu. 



LETTER II. 

Grignan, September 20, 1695. 
And so you are at our poor Rocks, my dear children, expe- 
riencing there the sweets of tranquillity, exempt from all du- 
ties and all fatigues, and our dear little marchioness can breathe 
again ! Good heavens ! how well you describe to me her situ- 
ation, and her extreme delicacy ! I am so affected at it, and 
I enter so affectionately into your ideas, that my heart is op- 
pressed, and tears rush into my eyes. It is to be hoped that 
you will only have the merit of bearing your sorrows with re- 

* Sister of Count de Grignan. 

f This relates to the truce which was on the point of being con- 
cluded at Ratisbon, and was published at Paris on the 5th of October 
following. 



334 LETTERS TO 

signation and submission ; but if God should appoint other- 
wise, like all unforeseen events, it would turn out differently 
from your expectations ; I will believe, however, that this dear 
being will last, with care, as long as any one ; we have a thou- 
sand examples of recovery. Has not Mademoiselle de la 
Trousse suffered from almost every kind of disorder ? In the 
mean time, my dear child, I enter into your feelings with infi- 
nite affection, and from the bottom of my heart. You do me 
justice when you say you are afraid of affecting me too much 
by relating to me the state of your mind ; it does indeed affect 
me, be assured I feel for you keenly. I hope this letter will 
find you calmer and happier. Paris seems to be quite out of 
your thoughts, on account of our marchioness. You are think- 
ing only of Bourbon and the spring. Continue to inform me 
of your plans, and do not leave me in ignorance of any thing 
that concerns you. 

Give me some account of the letters of the 23d and 30th of 
August. There was also a note for Galois, which I desired M. 
Branjon to pay. Give me an answer upon this subject. The 
good Branjon is married ; he has written me a very charming 
letter upon the occasion. Let me know whether the match is 
as good as he represents it to be. The lady is related to all 
the parliament, and to M. d'Arouys. Explain this to me, my 
child. I also addressed a letter to you for our Abbe Charrier. 
He will be sorry not to see you again ; and M. de Toulon ! 
you express yourself well respecting this ox ; it is for him to 
tame him, and for you to stand firm where you are. Eeturn 
the abbe's letter to Quimperle. 

With regard to your poor sister's health, it is not at all good. 
It is no longer her loss of blood that alarms us, for that is over ; 
but she does not recover her strength ; she is still so much 
altered that you would scarcely know her, because her stomach 
does not regain its tone, and no food seems to nourish her ; 
this arises from the bad state of her liver, of which you know 
she has long complained. It is so serious an evil that I am real- 
ly alarmed at it. Remedies might be used for her liver, but 



HER SON THE MARQUIS. 335 

they are unfavorable to the loss of blood, which we are in con- 
tinual apprehension may return, and which has produced a bad 
effect upon the afflicted part. These two maladies, which re- 
quire opposite medicines, reduce her to a truly pitiable situa- 
tion. Time, we hope, will repair this devastation ; I sincerely 
wish it ; and if we enjoy this blessing, we shall go to Paris 
with all expedition. This is the point to which we are arrived, 
and which must be cleared up ; I will be very faithful in my 
communications. 

This languor makes us say little yet of the return of the 
warriors. I do not doubt, however, that the business will be 
concluded ; it is too far advanced : but it will be without any 
great joy ; and even if we go to Paris, they would set out two 
days after, to avoid the air of a wedding, and visits, which they 
wish not to receive ; a burnt child, etc. 

As to M. de St. Amant's grief, of which such a parade has 
been made at Paris, it was founded upon my daughter's hav- 
ing really proved by memorandums, which she has showed to 
us all, that she had paid her son nine thousand francs out of 
ten she had promised him ; and having in consequence sent 
him only a thousand, M. de St. Amant said he was cheated, 
that they wanted to take advantage of him, and that he would 
give no more, having already given the fifteen thousand francs 
of his daughter's portion (which he laid out at Paris in stock, 
and for which he has the estates that were given up to him 
here,) and that the marquis must seek for assistance in that 
quarter. You may suppose that when that quarter has paid, 
it may occasion some little chagrin ; but it is at an end. M. 
de St. Amant thought in himself that it would not be advisa- 
ble to quarrel with my daughter ; so he came here as gentle as 
a lamb, wishing for nothing but to please and to take his daugh- 
ter back with him to Paris ; which he has done, though, in 
good truth, she ought to have waited for us ; but the advan- 
tage of being in the same house with her husband, in that 
beautiful mansion of M. de St. Amant ; of being handsomely 
lodged, and living sumptuously at no expense ; made my 



336 LETTERS TO 

daughter consent without hesitation to accept all these com- 
forts. But we did not see her depart without tears, for she is 
very amiable ; and was so much affected at bidding us adieu, 
that it could scarcely have been supposed she was going to 
lead a life of pleasure in the midst of plenty. She had become 
very fond of our society. She set out with her father on the 
first of this month. 

Be assured, my son, that no Grignan intends you harm ; 
that you are beloved by all ; and that if this trifle had been a 
serious thing, they would have felt that you would have taken 
as much interest in it as you have done. 

M. de Grignan is still at Versailles ; we expect him shortly, 
for the sea is clear, and Admiral Russel, who is no longer to 
be seen, will give him leave to come here. 

I shall seek for the two little writings you mention. I rely 
much upon your taste. The letters to M. de la Trape are 
books we can not send, though in manuscript. You shall 
read them at Paris, where I still hope to see you, for I love 
you in a much greater degree than you can love me. It is 
the order of nature, and I do not complain. 

I inclose you a letter from Madame de Chaulnes, which I 
send to you entire, from confidence in your prudence. You 
will justify yourself in things to which you well know what 
answer to make, and will pay no attention to those that may 
offend you. I have said for myself all I had to say, waiting 
for your answer respecting what I did not know ; and I added 
that I would inform you of what the duchess told me. Write 
to her, therefore, candidly, as having learned from me what 
she writes respecting you. After all, you should preserve this 
connection ; they love you, and have rendered you service ; 
you must not wound gratitude. I have said that you owed 
obligations to the intendant. But to you, my child, I say, is 
this friendship incompatible with your ancient leagues with 
the first president and the attorney-general ? Is it necessary 
that you should break with your old friends for the sake of se- 
curing an intendant ! M. de Pommereuil did not exact such 



HER SON THE MARQUIS. 



337 



conduct. I have also said that you ought to be heard, aud 
that it was impossible you should have neglected to congratu- 
late the attorney-general upon the marriage of his daughter. 
In short, my child, defend yourself, and tell me what you say, 

that I may second you. 

15 




LETTERS TO THE UUUNT DE GRIGNAN. 

FROM 16TO TO 1696. 



LETTER I. 

Paris, "Wednesday, 23d June, 1670. 
You have written me the most charming* letter in the 
world. I should have answered it much sooner, had I not 
known that you were traversing your province. I should 
likewise have sent you the music you desired, but have not yet 
been able to- procure it : in the mean time let me tell you that 
I love you most affectionately, and if that is capable of giving 
you the satisfaction you assure me it does, you ought to be 
the most contented man in the world. You must certainly be 
so in the correspondence you carry on with my daughter ; it 
appears to me very animated on her part, and I do not think 
any one can love another more than she does you. I hope to 

* Count de Grignan was of an ancient and noble Provencal family. 
He was rich, and held a high office, that of Lieutenant-General of the 
Government of Provence ; and as the governor, Yendome, was rarely 
in his place, M. de Grignan was virtually the governor. He had been 
twice married before his union with Madame de Sevigne's daughter, 
and it seems likely, considering the fashion of those times, and indeed 
of French marriages now, the mother was influenced by ambition. She 
found it did not confer happiness. The count was extravagant and 
fond of play, though he seems to have been a kind husband ; still it 
is evident that Madame de Sevigne was constrained in her letters to 
him. She compliments him, professes much affection, and was always 
on friendly terms with him, because he was the husband of her darling 
daughter. But her letters to him never go beyond this 



LETTERS TO COUNT DE GRIGNAN. 339 

return her to you safe and sound, with a little one the same, 
or I will burn my books. I am not very skillful indeed my 
self ; but I can ask advice, and follow it, and my daughter od 
her side takes all possible care of herself. 



LETTER n. 

Paris, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 1670. 
Is it not true that I have given you the prettiest wife in the 
world ? and can any one be more prudent, more regular in 
her conduct ? Can any one love you more, have more Chris- 
tian sentiments, long more ardently to be with you, or attend 
more strictly to the duties of her station ? It is ridiculous 
enough to say all this of my own daughter ; but I admire her 
as other people do, and perhaps more, as I am more an eye- 
witness of her behavior ; and to own the truth to you, what- 
ever good opinion I had of her as to the principal points, I 
never thought she would have been so exact as she is in all 
the minuter ones. I assure you, every body does her justice, 
and she loses none of the praises which are so much her due. 



LETTER IE. 

Paris, Friday, August 15, 1670. 

When I write to you so frequently, you must remember 
that it is on condition that you do not answer me. Relying 
on this, I shall proceed to tell you that I am heartily rejoiced 
at the many honors that are conferred on you. It appears to 
me that the commandant has less share in them than M. de 
Grignan himself ; and I think I see a partiality for you that 
another would not experience. 

I find there is so brisk a correspondence kept up between a 
certain lady and you, that it would be ridiculous to give you 
any news. I have not so much as a hope of acquainting you 



340 LETTERS TO 

that she loves you : her every action, her whole conduct, with 
all her little anxieties and cares about you, tell it plain enough. 
I am very delicate in the point of friendship, and pretend to 
know something about it, and I own to you that I am per- 
fectly satisfied with what I see, and could not wish it to be 
greater. Enjoy this pleasure to the utmost, and never be un- 
grateful. If there is any little vacant place in your heart, 
allow me the pleasure of occupying it ; for, I assure you, you 
hold a very considerable one in mine. 



LETTER IV. 

Paris, "Wednesday, December 10, 16*70. 
Madame de Coulanges has told me several times that you 
love me sincerely, that you talk of me, that you wish me 
with you. As I made the first advances toward this friend- 
ship, and loved first, you may judge how happy I am to find 
that you return the partiality I have so long had for you. 
All that you write of your daughter is admirable, and I had 
no doubt that the good health of the mother would comfort 
you for your disappointment. The joy I should have had in 
acquainting you with the birth of a son would have been too 
great — it would have been showering too many blessings at 
once ; and the pleasure I naturally take in being the messen- 
ger of good news, would have been carried to excess. I shall 
soon be in the same condition you saw me in last year. I 
must love you extremely to send my daughter to you at this 
inclement season of the year. How foolish it is to leave a 
good mother, with whom you assure me she is very well sat- 
isfied, to run after a man at the furthest end of France ! T 
give you my word, nothing can be more indecorous than such 
behavior. I do believe you were greatly concerned at the 
death of the amiable duchess. I was so afflicted myself that 
I stood in need of comfort while I was writing to you about 
it. 



COUNT D£ GRIGNAN. 341 

My daughter desires me to acquaint you with the marriage 
of Monsieur de Nevers;* that Monsieur de Nevers who was 
so difficult to be caught, who used to slip so unexpectedly 
through the hands of the fair, is at length going to wed. 
And whom think you ? Not Mademoiselle de Houdancourt, 
nor yet Mademoiselle de Grancei, but the young, the hand- 
some, the modest Mademoiselle de Thianges,f who was 
brought up at the Abbaye aux Bois. Madame de MontespanJ 
has the wedding solemnized at her house next Sunday ; she 
acts as mother on the occasion, and receives the honors as 
such. The king restored Monsieur de Nevers to all his posts, 
so that this belle, though she does not bring him a penny of 
fortune, will be worth more to him than the richest heiress in 
France. Madame de Montespan does wonders in every thing. 

I forbid you to write to me. Write to my daughter, and 
leave me to the freedom of writing to you, without embarking 
you in a train of answers which would rob me of the pleasure 
I have in acquainting you with every little trifle. Continue 
to love me, my dear count. I dispense with your honoring 
my motherly dignity, but you must love me, and assure your- 
self that there is not a place in the world where you are so 
dearly beloved as you are here. 



LETTER V. 

Paris, Friday, January 16, 1671. 

Alas ! the poor dear child is still with me, for it was utterly 

impossible for her, do what she would, to have set out the 

10th of this month, as she all along hoped and intended to 

do. The rains have been, and are still, so very violent that it 

* Philip Julian Mazarini Mancini, Duke of Nevers. 

f Diana Gabriel de Damas, daughter of Claud Leonor, Marquis de 
Thianges, and Gabriel de Rochechouart Morteniar, sister to Madaire 
de Montespan. 

% Then mistress to Louis XIV. 



342 LETTERS TO 

would have been downright folly to have attempted it. The 
rivers are overflowed, the roads are all under water, and the 
carriage-tracks so covered that she would have run the risk 
of being overturned in every ford. In short, things are in 
such a state that Madame de Rochefort, who is at her coun- 
try-seat, and is absolutely wild to be in Paris, where she is 
expected with the greatest impatience by her husband and 
mother, does not dare to venture till the roads are a little 
safer. Indeed, the winter is perfectly dreadful. We have 
not had an hour's frost, but there has been a continual deluge 
of rain every day. Not a boat can pass under any of the 
bridges ; the arches of the Pont Neuf are in a manner choked 
up. In short, it is something more than common. I own 
to you, that seeing the season so very inclement, I warmly 
opposed her setting out. I would not stop her for the cold, 
the dirt, or the fatigues of the journey, but methinks I would 
not have her drowned. Yet, strong as the reasons are for 
her stay, nothing could have prevailed on her had not the co- 
adjutor, who is to go with her, been engaged to perform the 
marriage ceremony of his cousin De Harcourt,* which is to 
be solemnized at the Louvre. Monsieur de Leonne is to stand 
proxy. The king has spoken to the coadjutor upon this sub- 
ject, but the affair has been put off day after day, and may 
not be finished this week. My poor daughter is -in such ex- 
treme impatience to be gone that the time she now passes 
with us can not be called living ; and if the coadjutor does 
not disengage himself from this same wedding, I think I see 
her ready to commit an act of folly by setting out without 
him. It would be so extraordinary to go by herself, and so 
happy on the contrary to have a brother-in-law to accompany 
her, that I shall do all in my power to prevent their separa- 
tion. In the mean time the waters may be a little drained off. 
But I can assure you that I have no sort of pleasure in her 

* Mary Angelica Henrietta of Lorraine,- married the 7th February, 
1671, to Nugno Alvares Pereira de Mello, Duke of Cadaval in Por- 
tugal 



COUNT DE GRIGNAN. 343 

company. I know that she must leave us. All that passes 
now is mere ceremony and preparation. We make no par- 
ties, we take no amusement ; our hearts are heavy, and we 
talk of nothing but rains, bad roads, and dreadful stories ot 
persons who have lost their lives in attempting to pass them. 



LETTER VI. 



The Rocks, Sunday, August 9, 1671. 
You alone, my dear count, could have prevailed on me to 
give my daughter to a Provencal ; this is truth, as Caderousse 
and Merrinville will witness for me ; for if I had liked the lat- 
ter as well as you, I should not have found so many expedients to 
prevent a conclusion, and she had been his. Do not entertain 
the least doubt of my having the highest opinion of you ; a 
moment's reflection will convince you I am sincere. I am not 
at all surprised that my daughter does not mention me to you ; 
she served me just the same by you last year ; believe, there- 
fore, whether she tells you so or not, that I never forget you, 
I think I hear her scold, and say, "Ah ! this is a pretense of 
yours to excuse your own laziness." I shall leave you to dis- 
pute this among yourselves, and assure you that, though you 
are perhaps the most happily formed for general love and es- 
teem of any man in the world, yet you never were, and never 
will be, more sincerely loved by any one than by me. I wish 
for you every day in my mall ; but you are proud ; I see that 
you expect me to visit you first ; you may think yourself very 
happy that I am not an old woman, but am resolved to enjoy 
the remains of life and health in taking that journey : our abbe 
seems to have as strong an inclination to go there as myself; 
that is one good thing. Adieu, my dear Grignan, love me al- 
ways ; treat me with a sight of you, and you shall see my 
woods. 



344 LETTERS TO 

LETTER VH. 

Paris, June 20, 1673. 
Come hither, my son-in-law. So, then, you are resolved to 
send my daughter back to me in the first coach ; you are dis- 
pleased with her, and quite angry that she admires your castle, 
and think that she takes too great a liberty in pretending to 
reside there and command in every thing. As you say you 
hate every thing that is worthy of hatred, you certainly must 
hate her. I enter into all your displeasure ; you could not 
have addressed yourself to one who feels the force of it better 
than myself. But do you know, after what you have said, 
that you make me tremble to hear you talk of wishing me at 
Grignan, and I am quite inconsolable for that reason ; for 
there is nothing in futurity so dear to me as the hope of see- 
ing you there ; and whatever I may say, I am persuaded that 
you will be very glad of it too, and that you love me ; it is 
impossible it should be otherwise ; I love you so well, that the 
same sentiments must necessarily pass from me to you, and 
from you to me. I commend the care of my daughter's 
health to you above all earthly things ; watch over it, be abso- 
lute master in all that regards it ; do not behave as you did at 
the bridge of Avignon ; keep your authority in this one point, 
and in every thing else leave her to her own way ; she is more 
skillful than you. Ah, how I pity you for having lost the 
pleasure of receiving her letters ! You were much happier a 
year ago ; would to God you had that pleasure now, and I had 
the mortification of seeing and embracing her ! Adieu, my 
dearest count, though I believe you are as much beloved as 
any man in the world, yet I do not think that any of your 
mothers-in-law* ever loved you so well as I do. 

* Madame de Sevigne was the third. 



COUNT DE GRIGNAN. 34f 



LETTER VEL 



The Rocks, July, 16*74. 
You flatter me too much, my dear count ; I shall accept of 
but one part of your fine speeches, and that is the thanks you 
return me for having given you a wife, that constitutes all youi 
happiness ; for, indeed, I think I contributed a little toward it : 
but the authority you have acquired over her in Provence, has 
been wholly owing to yourself, to your merit, your birth, and 
your conduct ; all this I have nothing to do with. Ah ! how 
much you lose by my heart not being at ease ! Le Camus is 
delighted with me ; he tells me I sing his airs extremely well : 
he certainly composes divinely ; but I am so dull and woe- 
begone, that I can learn nothing. You would sing them like 
an angel ; I assure you Le Camus has a high opinion both of 
your voice and judgment. I regret the loss of these little ac- 
complishments which we are too apt to neglect. Why should 
we lose them ? I have always said that we ought not to part 
with them, and that they can never be an incumbrance ; but 
what is to be done with a rope round the neck ? You have 
given my daughter one of the most delightful journeys in the 
world ; she is quite enchanted with it ; but then you have 
dragged her over hills and dales, and exposed her to the dan- 
gers of the Alps, and to the uncivil waves of the Mediter- 
ranean ; in short, I have a month's mind to chide you for it ; 
but let me first embrace you most affectionately. 



LETTER IX. 

The Rocks, November 6, 1675. 
Count, I am delighted to hear that my daughter is satisfied 
with you. Allow me to thank you by reason of the great in- 
terest I take in your affairs, and which I entreat you to pre- 
serve. You can not fail of this without ingratitude, and 

15* 



346 LETTERS TO COUNT DE ORIGNAN. 

without doing injustice to the blood of the Adhemars. I 
have read, in the Crusades, of one of these who was an illus- 
trious personage six hundred years ago. He was beloved as 
you are, and would never have given a moment's uneasiness 
to such a wife as yours. His death was lamented by an army 
of three hundred thousand men, and mourned by all the 
princes in Christendom. Not many pages after I find a cas- 
tellane, not altogether so ancient ; he is, indeed, a mere mod- 
ern ; it was but five hundred and twenty years since he made 
a great figure. I conjure you, therefore, by these two noble 
ancestors, who are my particular friends, to be guided by 
Madame de Grignan, and consider how much y du will consult 
your own interest in doing so. 



LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU * 

FROM 1681 TO 1682. 



LETTER L 

Paris, Friday, January 8, 1681. 
I should be very sorry, sir, if our correspondence were to 
end with the temple of Montpellier ; and all you say to this 
effect, in doing the honors of your letters, by supposing the 
assurance of their continuance to contain a threat to me, is 
so ungenerous that I should be disposed to scold you ; nor 
would the pretty turn you have given to this guarantee you 
from my reproaches, were it not that the letter you have writ- 
ten to my son makes me eager to tell you how much it has 
delighted me. The neatness of the beginning has reminded 
me of our merry stories, and the beauty of the verses has 
made me regret that you have not continued them in good 
earnest. If you have done so, let us share the pleasure of 
reading them. The two Latin verses you explain are very 
just. In short, we esteem your verse, your prose, and all 
your productions. My son is still your adorer ; my daughter 

* M. de Moulceau was President of the Chamber of Accounts of 
Montpellier. It appears that Madame de Sevigne, at the time of her 
journey into Provence, had found him on terms of strict friendship 
with M. and Madame de Grignan, and M. de Vardes and Corbinelli, 
and that she was so sensible of his worth and the charms of his mind 
as to enter into a correspondence with him. But we remark with as- 
tonishment that no mention is made of this interesting man in any of 
the preceding letters. 



348 LETTERS TO 

admires and esteems you in the highest degree. I presume 
you know my own sentiments for you, and that you see 
plainly there is not a family in the world who so justly ap- 
preciates your merit. You do the same in regard to M. de 
Caicasonne, hy praising him as you do. The poor chevalier 
has been here for these six weeks, laid up with the rheuma- 
tism. He receives visits from persons almost as lame as 
himself. Those who are left-handed show at least that their 
taste is right. You have returned M. de Noailles to us in a 
very ill state of health. He has so violent a diarrhoea that 
it seems as if he had eaten to his own share all that he has 
expended at Montpellier ; in short, he has heen obliged to re- 
sign the staff, the staff that was the object of his love, the 
staff he went so far to assume, the staff which was the re- 
ward of all his other services. It is natural to suppose that 
he must be very ill, when he gives it himself to M. de Lux- 
embourg. You say much in his favor when you speak of 
the distinction and expansion of heart he showed you. I wish 
his generosity had gone so far as to have induced him to re- 
turn our mortified friend's visit.* Have I not heard you say 
that we ought to respect the unfortunate ? It can not be 
doubted that this has increased the mortification. I pity 
him for having suffered this feeling to take possession of 

* Anne Jules, Duke de Noailles, had been nominated to the com- 
mand in Languedoc, of which the Duke du Maine, then too young to 
take it upon himself, had just been appointed governor. Preparations 
were making for the destruction of Calvinism. In conjunction with 
the intendant d'Aguesseau, father of the celebrated chancellor, Noail- 
les endeavored for a long time to engage the court to employ mild 
measures ; and even in the execution of the most rigorous he at first 
showed some humanity ; but he afterward became one of the most 
violent persecutors, and his dispatches, concerted with Louvois, did 
not fail to excite the king to rigors of which he too late repented. 

It appears that he thought he could not, with propriety, in the sit- 
uation he held, return the visit of M. de Yardes, then an exile, and 
whom Madame de Sevigne designates by the title of the mortified 
friend. 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 349 

him, and to have surmounted even his Christian philosophy ; 
but I pity him still more if your heart be yet closed against 
him. A friend like you would be a true consolation in all 
his afflictions. Our friend (Corbinelli) is entirely occupied 
here with his affairs. He does wonders. He is become the 
best lawyer in Paris ; and this qualification came to him un- 
expectedly along with his peruke and brandenbourg, so that 
we should much sooner have taken him for a captain of cav- 
alry than a man of business. It is thus the exterior often 
deceives us. If M. de Vardes had not thrown him into 
this employment, his gratitude and inclination would lead 
him straight to you. His heart is still perfect in all the 
moral virtues. They will become Christian virtues when it 
shall please Providence, whom we still adore, and who seems 
to treat you well, by the sentiments it inspires you with. 
Adieu, my dear sir. We should have many things to say to 
each other if we met. Who knows that some day or other 
we may not ? Our friend writes to you separately ; so much 
the worse for him : he will not know that I have the pleasure 
of assuring you here of my sincere and faithful friendship. 



LETTER n. 

Paris, April 17, 1682. 
If you are alarmed at the appearance of my neglect, be as- 
sured, sir, it is a false alarm, and that appearances are deceitful ; 
you do not suffer yourself to be forgotten ; Rochecourbieres, 
Livri, and the days in which we have seen you, are faithful 
guarantees of what I say ; and I am certain you believe it, and 
that, being so well informed on every other subject, Christian 
humility does not prevent you from knowing your own worth. 
It is a truth, therefore ; you can not be forgotten. Our friend 
and I have said a thousand times, " Let us write to this poor 
reprobate ; but by continually delaying it, we have embarrassed 
ourselves by our miserable security. It seems to me as if 
Montpellier has given a great deal to the jubilee. You know 



350 LETTERS TO 

what a horror Corbinelli has of this sort of parade, which he 
calls hypocrisy. I do not know exactly how he has acted 
upon the occasion, and I have not dared question him ; but, 
considering the extreme respect he has for this holy mystery, 
and how rigorously he enters into the preparations for it, 
of which he will not abate a single iota, I have long been 
tempted to say to him, basta la meta (the half is sufficient) ; 
for, in fact, if all the faithful were to follow his ideas upon the 
subject, the ceremonials of religion would be done away. This 
is the inspiration of God, and whether it be light or derelic- 
tion, some great change must happen to alter his opinion. 
M. de Vardes has put the same question to him, that you put 
to me on his jubilee ; he has answered very honestly, and has 
given him a probet autem semetipsum homo, which may occa- 
sion great reflections. This is all I can tell you ; you know 
and love the soil, for, indeed, the more his heart is known, the 
more it must be admired. I perceive his departure approach, 
and I perceive it with sorrow ; but what may not Providence 
reserve for M. de Vardes ? M. de Bussy is recalled after an 
exile of eighteen years ; he has seen the king, who received 
him most graciously : these are times of justice and clemency ; 
we not only do what is well, but what is perfectly well ; I 
doubt not, therefore, that this poor exile's turn will come, and 
every one else believes it so firmly that if any thing can do 
him injury, it is this general report. You tell me the most 
agreeable truth I can hear, in assuring me the young people 
will bring from Languedoc all the politeness which failed them 
here* They appear to me like the Germans who are sent to 
Angers to learn the language ; they were Germans in man- 
ners, and if they had not learned them out of court, would 
seem to conduct themselves ridiculously. It is- easy to com- 
prehend that, having had so good a master as M. de Vardes 
for six months, they must have profited more than they had 
done during their whole life. 

* This refers to the daughter and son-in-law of M. de Vardes (M. and 
Madame de Rohan), who had spent six months with him at Montpellier. 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 351 

LETTER IE. 

Paris, May 26, 1682. 
Were you not very much surprised, sir, to see M. de Vardes 
slip through your fingers, whom you had held so firmly for 
nineteen years ? This is the time Providence had marked out 
for him ; in reality, he was no longer thought of, he appeared 
forgotten, and sacrificed to example. The king, who reflects 
and arranges every thing in his head, declared one morning 
that M. de Vardes would be at court in two or three days ; he 
said he had written to him by the post, that he wished to sur- 
prise him, and that for more than six months no one had 
mentioned his name to him. His majesty was gratified ; he 
wished to create surprise, and every one was surprised ; never 
did intelligence make so great an impression, nor so great a 
noise, as this. In short, he arrived on Saturday morning, with 
a head singular in its kind, and an old justaucorps a brevet,* 
such as was worn in the year 1663. He set one knee to the 
ground in the king's chamber, M. de Chateauneuf being the 
only person present. The king told him that while his heart 
had been wounded he had not recalled him, but that he now 
recalled him with a whole heart, and that he was glad to see 
him. M. de Vardes made an admirable reply, with an air of 
being deeply affected, and the gift of tears, which God has 
given him, produced no ill effect upon this occasion. After 
this first interview, the king caused the dauphin to be called, 
and presented him to him as a young courtier. M. de Vardes 
recognized, and saluted him ; the king said to him, laughing : 
" Vardes, this is a blunder ; you know that no one is saluted 
in my presence." M. de Vardes replied in the same tone : 
"Sire, I have forgotten every thing; your majesty must par- 

* This was a blue great-coat, embroidered with gold and silver, 
which distinguished the principal courtiers: an especial permission 
was necessary to wear it. The fashion had passed when Yardes re- 
turned to court. 

15* 



352 LETTERS TO 

don even thirty blunders." "Well, I will," said the king; 
" stop at the twenty-ninth." The king afterward laughed at 
his coat. M. de Vardes said, " Sire, when a man is so wretched 
as to be banished from your presence, he is not only unfortu- 
nate, but he becomes ridiculous." All this was said in a tone 
of perfect freedom and playfulness. The courtiers performed 
wonders. He came one day to Paris, and called upon me ; I 
was just gone out to call upon him, but he found my son and 
daughter at home, and in the evening I found him at his own 
house : it was a joyful meeting ; I mentioned our friend to 
him. " What, madam ! my master ! my intimate friend ! the 
man in the world to whom I owe the greatest obligations ! 
can you doubt that I love him with my whole heart ?" This 
pleased me highly. He resides with his daughter at Versailles. 
The court goes to-day ; I suppose he will return, to catch the 
kino- again at Auxerre, for it appears to all his friends that he 
ought to take this journey, in which he will certainly pay his 
court well, by bestowing the most natural praises on three 
little things — the troops, the fortifications, and his majesty's 
conquests. Perhaps out friend will tell you all this, and my 
letter will be only a miserable echo ; but, at any rate, I have 
entered into the minutiae, because I should like, on such an oc- 
casion, to be written to in the same style, and I judge you, my 
dear sir, by myself; I have often been deceived by others, but 
never by you. It is said that your worthy and generous friend, 
M. de Noailles, has rendered very important services to M. de 
Vardes ; he is so generous that it is impossible to doubt this. 
M. de Calvisson is arrived ; this must either break off, or con- 
clude our marriage. In reality, I am weary of this tedious 
affair, I am not in a humor to talk of any thing but M. de 
Vardes. M. de Vardes forever ; he is the Gospel of the day. 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 353 

LETTER IV. 

Paris, July 28, 1682 

You are going to hear a beautiful and an admirable storj ; 
pay great attention to every circumstance attending it. The 
Prince de Conti having expressed himself dissatisfied with the 
Chevalier de Lorraine, because he had said the Prince de la 
Roche-sur-Yon was in love with his wife, found an opportu- 
nity of telling him, two days ago, in the gardens of Versailles, 
that he would do him the honor of fighting him, because he 
had offended him by his conversation, etc. The Chevalier de 
Lorraine thanked him for the honor he intended him, and 
wished to justify himself in what he had said ; after which 
the prince told him that he might have M. de Marsan for his 
second, who, healing himself named, stepped forward and 
accepted the office without hesitation, desiring the Prince de 
Conti to allow M. de Soissons to be the other second, as he 
had long been an enemy to their family. The proposal was 
yielded to, the party was formed, the place appointed, the 
hour chosen, and secrecy enjoined. Can not you fancy your- 
self in the times of the late M. de Boutteville ? Each went 
his way ; but the Chevalier de Lorraine went straight to Mon- 
sieur, to whom he related the whole story, and Monsieur the 
next moment confided it to the king. You may guess what 
he said to his son-in-law. He talked to him for more than 
two hours with more of gayety than anger, but in a tone of 
authority, which must have caused great repentance. Here 
the affair ended. The public thinks the Chevalier de Lorraine 
ought to have refused upon the spot, instead of consenting 
and then betraying every thing ; but people of the trade 
think that a refusal would have excited some angry words 
from the prince, and perhaps some • menace not very easy of 
digestion ; and then to have such a stigma cast upon him, 
and from a man who is so much to be dreaded ! In this 
way his conduct has been approved, and the more so because 



354 LETTERS TO 

his courage is unquestionable. What say you to this affair ? 
How does it appear to you to be handled ? Alas ! if that 
sainted princess were to descend from heaven, and to find her 
dear son troubled with such impetuosity, do you not think 
she would retrace her steps from grief and affliction ? You 
will talk this over with M. de Vardes. Would to God that 
the birth of a Duke of Burgundy, which is hourly expected, 
could restore him to us ! 



LETTER V. 

June 13, 1684. 
Word was sent me from Languedoc that I had a law-suit 
pending there, that M. de Grignan was prosecuted with rigor, 
and that the judges were strange people. I cursed them 
heartily, sir, and have since found that you are one of the 
principals : it is you, therefore, I have loaded with so many 
imprecations, you, whose protection I have claimed to soften 
the rigor and to attend to the justice of my cause. It is to M. 
d'Argouges I am indebted for the information, that this odious 
judge and this highly-esteemed M. de Moulceau r are one and the 
same. All the anger kindled against the first, has disappeared 
at the name of the second, and the weapons have fallen from 
my hand, like those of Arcabonne, when she recognized Ama- 
dis. It is to M. de Moulceau that I address this quotation 
from the opera ; you will suppose, that, in virtue of your title 
of judge, I shall quote nothing but laws to you. There is one 
established law in the world, particularly among honest men, 
which is, never to condemn unheard : in this, sir, consists the 
favor I have to ask you. The Prince de Conti claims an 
estate of which we have been in possession for three hundred 
years. I know, from M. de Corbinelli, that three hundred 
years is a strong title ; we request you, sir, to give us time to 
collect our proofs, to convince you of the weakness of the 
Prince de Conti's claim and of the solidity of ours. 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 355 

LETTER VI. 

Paris, November, 24, 1685. 
I have received no letter from you for more than fifteen 
months ; I know not whether our enraged and jealous friend* 
has intercepted any ; it is not, however, like him to do so ; he 
would be more inclined to assassinate you with the little sword 
you once used so pleasantly in the garden of Rambouillet. 
We shall never forget your wisdom, nor your folly ; and I 
have spent a year with my son in Brittany, where we have 
often mentioned you with sentiments with which your merit 
must impress all hearts that are not unworthy of knowing it. 
We have been twenty times on the point of writing some 
nonsense to you ; we wished to assure you that the scarcity of 
the gratification did not prevent you from being often in our 
remembrance, and twenty times has the demon which turns 
aside good intentions perverted the course of this. At length, 
sir, after having been overturned, drowned, and had a wound 
in my leg, which has not been healed till within these six 
weeks, I left my son, and his wife, who is very pretty, and ar- 
rived at Baville, at M. de Lamoignon's, on the tenth or twelfth 
of September, where I found my daughter and all the Grig- 
nans, who received me with joy and affection. To complete 
my happiness, my daughter will not leave me this winter. I 
have found our dear Corbinelli just as I left him, except a little 
more philosophical, and dying every day from some cause or 
other : his freedom excites my envy ; in changing his object 
he would become a saint ; he is, however, so kind and char- 
itable to his neighbor, that I really believe the grace of God 
is concealed under the name of Cartesian. He converts more 
heritics by his good sense, and by not irritating them by vain 
disputes, than others by all their controversy. In short, every 
one now is a missionary, every one thinks he has a mission, 
and particularly the magistrates and governors of provinces, 
upheld by the dragoons : this is the greatest and most noble 

* A jest which refers to Corbinelli. 



356 LETTERS TO 

action that has ever been conceived or performed. Like us, 
you have been surprised with other news. What an event is 
the death of the Prince de Conti ! after having experienced 
all the perils of the Hungarian war, he came here to die of a 
disorder which he scarcely felt ! His lovely widow has deeply 
bewailed him : she has an annuity of a hundred thousand 
crowns, and has received from the king so many marks of 
friendship, and of his natural affection for her, that with such 
assistance no one can doubt that she will in time be comforted. 



LETTER VH. 

Livri, October 25, 1686. 
I have received your letter, sir ; it presented itself to me as 
if you wished to make me ashamed of my silence, and to be- 
lieve I had been ill, for the purpose of entering into conversa- 
tion with me. It reminds me of a very pretty comedy, in 
which the person who wishes to come to an explanation with 
the lady who enters, makes her believe she called him, and 
thus obtains a hearing. If you have the same intention, sir, I 
return you a thousand thanks ; and I really can not compre- 
hend how, esteeming you as I do, remembering you with so 
much pleasure, speaking of you so readily, having so high a 
relish for your understanding and your worth, to say no more 
for fear of exciting jealousy, I can, with so many things to 
promote a correspondence, have left you seven or eight months 
without saying a word to you. It is iorrible ; but what does 
it signify? let us remain in this freedom, since it is not com- 
patible with the sentiments I have just expressed for you. I 
have seen M. de la Trousse ; we talked of you the moment we 
had embraced ; I think him, by what he told me, highly de- 
serving the esteem you appear to entertain for him. The 
stroke is at least double. I found him perfectly acquainted 
with, and as sensible of your worth as you can possibly de- 
sire. He must pass through this place on his way to La 



LETTERS TO PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 357 

Trousse ; I shall show him your letter, and I do not think it 
will induce him to change his opinion. You have now M. de 
Noailles with you : you are in such favor there that I shall 
rejoice with you on the pleasure you will receive at seeing a 
man whom you have inspired with such lively sentiments of 
esteem for you. I can easily imagine the confusion which the 
derangement of the states must have occasioned you ; but you 
can not dispense with going to Mmes. I must say a word to 
you respecting Mademoiselle de Grignan. You know, I pre- 
sume, that she has been in the convent of the Carmelites for 
eight months, and that she took the habit in form, with a zeal 
too violent to last. In the first three months she found herself 
so reduced, from the severity of the order, and her stomach so 
injured by the meagerness of the provision, that she was 
obliged to eat meat by compulsion. This inability to comply 
with the rules, even in her noviciate, induced her to quit the 
convent ; but with so true a sentiment of piety, of humiliation 
at the delicacy of her health, and of such perfect contempt 
for the world, that the holy nuns have preserved an affection- 
ate friendship for her ; and she, who has only changed the 
habit, and not the sentiment, has no false shame, like those 
who grow weary of the life, and is now with us as usual, giv- 
ing us the same edification. Her residence at Paris is fixed 
at the Feuillantines, where she will board with several others ; 
she will return there at Martinmas, when we do. What at- 
taches her to this house is its vicinity to the Carmelites, where 
she goes almost daily, and whenever a certain princess is there. 
She takes from this holy convent all that agrees with her, that 
is, its devotion and conversation, and leaves the strictness of 
the order, to which she was by no means equal. 

It is thus God has conducted her and gently repulsed her 
from the high degree of perfection to which she aspired, to 
support her in another a little inferior to it, which can not but 
be good, since He gives her grace to love him alone, which is 
all that can be desired in this world. But Providence has also 
inspired her with the most noble, just, and praiseworthy thought 



358 LETTERS TO 

it was possible to conceive for her family. She was deter- 
mined that her return to the world should not deprive her 
father of what she wished to give him by her civil death : and 
at quitting her convent, she made him a very handsome pres- 
ent of forty thousand crowns, which he owed her ; that is, 
twenty thousand crowns principal, and the rest arrears and 
sums borrowed. This gift has been duly estimated, not only 
by those who love M. de Grignan, but by those who knew that 
all her property becoming personal at the age of five-and- 
twenty, if she had not disposed of any thing by will, would 
go almost wholly to her father ; and that M. de Grignan would 
have eighty thousand crowns to pay Mademoiselle d'Alerac, 
reckoning the principal of the jointure at forty thousand. 
This is enough in conscience for us not to pity the sister, and 
to rejoice that the family is relieved from this double pay- 
ment. I own I have been very much affected at this season- 
able and generous action ; and I admire the goodness of her 
disposition, which led her to do, without affectation, the only 
thing in the world that could render her dear to her family, 
where she is now received and considered as its benefactress. 
The understanding alone might have wrought this effect in 
another, but it is best when produced only by the heart. My 
daughter has contributed so well to this little maneuvre, that she 
has received double pleasure from its success. The chevalier 
has also done wonders ; for you may suppose it has been 
necessary to assist, and give a form to these good intentions. 
In short, all has gone well : even Mademoiselle d'Alerac has 
entered into the justice of the sentiment. I pray that God 
may reward her by a good establishment, of which she still 
conceals from us every prospect, so that at present there is no 
appearance of any thing of the kind. Do I not weary you, 
sir, by this long account ? you will have an indigestion of the 
Grignans. To divert you, let us talk a little of poor Sevigne : 
I should mention him with grief if I could not tell you that after 
five months of horrible suffering from medicines which worked 
him to the very bone, the poor child is at length restored to 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 359 

perfect health. He has spent the whole of August with me in 
this retreat, which you are now acquainted with. We were 
alone with the good abbe, we had everlasting conversations, 
and this long intercourse has renewed our acquaintance with 
each other, and our acquaintance renewed our friendship. He 
is returned home with a stock of Christian philosophy, sprink- 
led with a grain of anchoretism, and particularly with an ex- 
treme affection for his wife, by whom he is equally beloved, 
which makes him altogether the happiest man in the world, 
because he passes his life agreeably to his own mind. We 
have talked of you twenty times with friendship and delight, 
and twenty times have we said, " Let us write to him, I wish 
it very much ;" and when we have been on the point of giv- 
ing ourselves this pleasure, a demon has stepped in to distract 
our attention, and turn aside our good resolutions. What is 
to be done, my dear sir, in misfortunes like these ? Perhaps 
you know the mortification of forming good resolutions with- 
out the power of executing them. I fear our dear jealous 
friend calculates upon spending the winter with you ; you will 
be very glad : you will laugh, and I shall cry ; for I have so 
perfect a confidence in him, and so true a friendship for him, 
that I can not lose the society of such a man without feeling 
it painfully every moment ; M. de Vardes, however, whom he 
is delighted to follow, will restore him to us, as he takes him 
away from us. I am pleased that this attachment continues ; 
you will act your part well, and I consider the pleasure of see- 
ing you, and of establishing himself again in your heart, as a 
happy circumstance for our friend. M. de Vardes has not 
been sufficiently particular in the information you omitted to 
tell me : the surest way is to write ourselves, as you see. I 
do not write to you often, but you will own when I do that it 
is not for nothing. 



360 LETTERS TO 

LETTER VIII. 

Paris, November 26, 1686. 
I thought, sir, that in purchasing an office, nothing was 
necessary but to find money ; but I see that the manner of 
giving and receiving it is also to be considered. You will soon 
be quit of this embarrassment, from the desire you always have 
to contribute to your own tranquillity. Good heavens ! how 
rational and how worthy of you is this disposition, and how 
just too is the choice of your company, when we come to 
speak and point out its excellence ! If we judge from appear- 
ances, it is very superior to our parliaments. I can fancy I 
hear M. and Madame de Vernueil say a thousand kind things 
to you, and receive yours in return. When this princess men- 
tions me, tell her it is impossible to be more at her service 
than I am. You have a sister of Madame de la Troche with 
you, who is very amiable ; the eldest will place all the atten- 
tions you pay her to her own account. I have presented 
your compliments to the Chevalier de Grignan, who has re- 
ceived them graciously ; he pointed out to the prince* the 
silence and discretion of your departure ; nothing can ex- 
ceed his concern and zeal for your interest : but we can an- 
swer for nothing when we are left-handed. What you told 
me the other day of a certain discourse he held with a certain 
person, makes me exhort you to preserve the noble tran- 
quility I have always witnessed in you, on the success of this 
affair. We only returned from Livri yesterday ; the beauty 
of the weather, and the health of my daughter, which has 
been nearly established there, made us stay out of grati- 
tude. In the two months we have been there, we have not 
been able to prevail on our friend to give us his company for 

* The Prince de Conti. It has been seen in the letter of June 13, 
1684, that M. de Moulceau was judge in a law-suit in which M. de 
Grignan was engaged with this prince, and that he was moreover at- 
tached to him for other reasons. 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 361 

more than ten days. He has a thousand little affairs there, 
to which he is accustomed : I know nothing of his intentions 
with respect to his departure, I almost doubt whether the 
society he meets at M. de Vardes 7 will not prevent him from 
setting out soon. I assure you I shall reap the advantage of 
his inclination to do so with pleasure, but I only contribute 
toward it by my wishes. Pray inform us how M. de Vardes 
finds himself in the midst of this troop of Bohemians ; I can 
not get this vision out of my eyes. We shall have a thous- 
and things to tell you of the son-in-law ;* in short, it struck 
us the other day that if Homer had been acquainted with 
him, he would have chosen him in point of anger for his 
Achilles. We have a new prince and a new princess here. 



LETTER IX. 

Paris, December 15, 1686. 
I wrote you a long letter, sir, more than a month ago, 
full of friendship, secrets, and confidence. I know not what 
became of it ; it lost its way, perhaps, in seeking for you at 
the States, since you have not answered it : but this will not 
prevent me from telling you a melancholy, and at the same 
time a pleasing, piece of intelligence : the death of the prince, 
which happened the day before yesterday, the 11th instant, at 
a quarter after seven in the evening, and the return of the 
Prince de Conti to court, through the kindness of the prince, 
who asked this favor of the king in his last moments. The 
king immediately granted it, and the prince had this conso- 
lation on his death-bed ; but never was joy drowned in so 
many tears. The Prince de Conti is inconsolable at the loss 
he has sustained. It could not be greater, particularly as he 
passed the whole time of his disgrace at Chantilly, where he 
made an admirable use of the understanding and abilities of 

* M. de Rohan, who had married the daughter of the Count de 
Vardes. 

16 



362 LETTERS TO 

the prince, and drew from the fountain-head all that was to 
be acquired from so great a master, by whom he was ten- 
derly beloved. The prince flew, with a speed that has cost 
him his life, from Chantilly to Fontainebleau, where Madame 
de Bourbon was seized with the small-pox, in order to pre- 
vent the duke, who had not had the disorder, from nursing 
her and being with her ; for the duchess, who has always 
nursed her, would have been sufficient to satisfy him of the 
care that was taken of her health. He was very ill, and at 
length died of an oppression with which he was seized, which 
made him say, as he was on the point of returning to Paris, 
that he should take a much longer journey. He sent for his 
confessor, Father Deschamps, and, after lying in a state of 
insensibility for twenty-four hours, and receiving all the sacra- 
ments, he died, regretted and bitterly lamented by his family 
and his friends. The king was much afflicted at the event, 
and, in short, the grief of losing so great a man and so great 
a hero, whose place whole ages will not be able to supply, 
has been felt by all ranks. A singular circumstance hap- 
pened three weeks ago, a little before the departure of the 
prince for Fontainebleau. Vernillon, one of his gentlemen, 
returning from the chase at three o'clock, saw, as he ap- 
proached the castle, at one of the windows of the armory, an 
apparition : that is, a man who had been dead and buried. 
He dismounted, and came nearer ; he still saw it. His valet, 
who was with him, said, " I see the same, sir, that you see." 
Vernillon had been silent, that his valet might speak of his 
own accord. They entered the castle together, and desired 
the keeper to give them the key of the armory. The keeper 
went with them ; they found all the windows closed, and a 
silence which had been undisturbed for more than six months. 
This was told to the prince : he appeared struck with it at 
first, and afterward laughed at it. Every one heard the story 
and trembled for the prince. You see what the event has 
been. 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 363 

LETTER X. 

Paris, Monday, April 29, 1687. 
So you like my letters, sir. I am delighted that you do ; 
this is one which will be worth a hundred. My robust 
health was slightly attacked, about a month ago, by a little 
colic, a little rheumatism, a little vexation ; consequently, 
all this might excuse me from writing to you ; but I had 
rather die than another should tell you that the Prince de 
Conti is at length returned to court. He is this night at 
Versailles, and the king, like a kind father, has restored him 
to favor, after having exiled him for a while, to leave him at 
leisure to make his own reflections. No doubt he has done 
so, and the court will be very gay and splendid on the occa- 
sion. His majesty will make several chevaliers at Whitsun- 
tide, but it will be only a family promotion : M. de Chartres, 
the Duke de Bourbon, the Prince de Conti, and M. du Maine, 
but no one else : all the other candidates must be pleased to 
have patience ; but they will not see without mortification 
the adjournment of their hopes. The Duke de Vieuville is 
governor to the Duke de Chartres. Madame de Polignac, 
who is not Mademoiselle d'Alerac, paid a visit yesterday to 
Madame de Grignan. She was brilliant, lively, elated with 
the grandeur of the house of Polignac, fond of talking of the 
name, and all the personages belonging to it. She has ta- 
ken upon herself the fortune of the two brothers, and has 
supported, generously and courageously, the frown and 
disapprobation of the king. She has employed skillful ar- 
tificers ; and instead of deserting the deserted, like women 
in general, she has made it a point of honor to reinstate 
them at court. I could answer for it that she will revive 
and re-establish this family. This is what Providence had 
in store for them, and which prevented us from being 
able to read distinctly what it had written for Mademoiselle 
d'Alerac. Adieu, sir ; love me, for indeed you ought. I love 
your mind, your worth, your wisdom, your folly, your virtue, 



364 LETTERS TO 

your humor, your goodness : in short, all that belongs to you, 
and wish you, and the pretty covey under your wing, which 
must afford you so much pleasure and comfort, every possi- 
ble happiness. All here salute you, except our friend, who 
knows nothing of this hasty letter. I shall talk of you a 
great deal with Bourdaloue. Madame Dangeau, formerly Ba- 
varia, is very prudent, very amiable, and makes her husband 
very happy ; she might have made him very ridiculous. 



LETTER XL 

Wednesday, March 2, 1689. 
What things, sir, may not be said ! what a period in the 
history of our monarch is the manner in which he has re- 
ceived the king of England ! the presents with which he has 
loaded him in setting out from hence for Ireland ; vessels at 
Brest, where he now is, frigates, troops, officers ; the Count 
d'Avaux as embassador extraordinary and adviser, and who is 
also to have the care of the troops and money ; two millions 
on his departure, and as much afterward as he wants ! Be- 
side these great things he has given him his arms, his helmet, 
his cuirass, which can not fail of bringing good fortune to 
him. He has given him arms sufficient for ten or twelve 
thousand men. And as to little conveniences they are in- 
numerable : post-chaises admirably made, calashes, carriage 
and saddle-horses, services of gold and silver, toilets, linen, 
camp-beds, magnificent swords of state, swords for service, 
pistols; in short, every thing of every kind that can be 
thought of; and in embracing him as he bid him adieu, he 
said to him, " You can not say that I am not affected at your 
departure : I own to you, however, that I wish never to see 
you again ; but if, unfortunately, you should return, be as- 
sured you will find me as you leave me." Nothing could be 
better said, nothing more just : generosity, magnificence, mag- 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 365 

nanimity were never exercised as they have been by his 
majesty on this occasion. 

We hope that the Irish war will be a powerful diversion, 
and prevent the Prince of Orange from tormenting us by 
descents upon our coast ; and thus our three hundred thou- 
sand soldiers, our armies so well stationed every where, will 
only serve to make the king feared, without any one daring 
to attack him. 

This is a time of political discussion : I should very much 
like to hear you talk over these great events. I inclose the opin- 
ion of a respectable upholsterer on the questions, respecting fur- 
niture, of Madame de Moulceau : but whatever he may say of a 
gold fringe and double taffeties for curtains, and though there 
are many such here, nothing is so pretty, so suitable, or so 
cool for the summer, as curtains made of these beautiful taf- 
feties single, and tapestry the same. I have seen them at sev- 
eral houses, and admire them exceedingly : every thing must 
be looped up, and plaited, as he has directed : for the other 
kind of furniture, you must have damask or brocade. 



LETTER XH. 

Grignan, Friday, November 10, 1690. 

Where do you think I am, sir ? Did you not know I was 
in Brittany ? Our Corbinelli must have told you so. After 
having been there sixteen months with my son, I thought it 
would be very pleasant to spend the winter here with my 
daughter. This plan of a journey of a hundred and fifty 
leagues at first appeared a castle in the air ; but affection ren- 
dered it so easy, that in fact I executed it between the 3d 
and 24th of October, on which day I arrived at Robinet's 
gate, where I was received by Madame de Grignan with open 
arms, and with so much joy, affection, and gratitude, that I 
thought T had not come soon enough, nor from a sufficiently 



366 LETTERS TO 

great distance. After this, sir, tell me that friendship is not a 
fine thing ! it makes me often think of you, and wish to see 
you here once more during my life. We shall be here the 
whole of this winter, and the next summer ; if you do not find 
a moment to come and see us, I shall think you have for- 
gotten me. You will not know this house again, it is so 
much improved ; but you will find its owners still abounding 
with esteem for you ; and me, sir, possessing a regard for 
you, capable of driving our friend to madness, and worthy of 
your paying us this visit. 



LETTER XIII. 

GrRiGNAN, June 5, 1695. 

I intend, sir, to bring an action against you, and thus I set 
about it. I wish you to judge it yourself. I have been here 
for more than a year with my daughter, for whom I have as 
much love as ever. Since that time you have no doubt heard 
of the marriage of the Marquis de Grignan to Mademoiselle de 
Saint-Amand. You have seen her often enough at Mont- 
pellier to be acquainted with her person ; you have also heard 
mention of the vast wealth of her father. You are not ig- 
norant that this marriage was solemnized with great pomp in 
the chateau which you know. I suppose you can not have 
forgotten the time when the true esteem we have always pre- 
served for you began. On this subject I measure your senti- 
ments by my own, and I judge that, we not having forgotten 
you, you can not have forgotten us. 

I even include M. de Grignan, whose date is still more an- 
cient than ours. I collect all these things, and I find myself 
injured on every side ; I complain of it here, I complain of it 
to our friends, I complain of it to our dear Corbinelli, the 
jealous confidant and witness of all the esteem and friendship 
we bear you ; and at length, sir, I complain of it to yourself. 
Whence proceeds this silence ? is it from forgetfulness ? from 



PRESIDENT DE MOULCEAU. 367 

perfect indifference ? I know not which to say : what would 
you have me think ? What does your conduct resemble ? 
Give a name to it, sir ; the cause is now ready for your sen- 
tence. Pass it : I consent that you should be both party and 
judge. 



LETTER XIV. 



Grignan, Saturday, February 4, 1696. 
I was right, sir, when I supposed you would be concerned at 
my anxiety, and would use all the diligence in your power to 
relieve it. M. Barbeirac's prescription and your letter had 
wings, as you wished ; and it seems that this little fever, which 
appeared so low, had wings too, for it vanished at the bare 
mention of M. Barbeirac's name. Seriously, sir, there is some- 
thing miraculous in this sudden change ; and I can not doubt 
that your wishes and your prayers contributed to produce it. 
Judge of my gratitude by their effect. My daughter goes 
halves with me in all I say here ; she returns you a thousand 
thanks, and entreats you to give a great many to M. Barbeirac. 
We are happy in having no longer any thing to do, but to 
take patience and rhubarb, which she finds agree well with 
her. We doubt not that in this quiet state, rhubarb is a medi- 
cine which M. Barbeirac must approve, with a regimen, which 
is sometimes better than all. Thank God, sir, both for your- 
self and for us ; for we are certain that you are interested in 
tnis acknowledgment ; and then, sir, cast your eyes upon all 
the inhabitants of this chateau, and judge of their sentimenta 
for you. 



LETTERS TO M. DE COULANGES * 

FROM 1676 TO 1696. 



LETTER I. 

Paris, Monday, Dec. 15, 1670. 
I am going to tell you a thing the most astonishing, the 
most surprising, the most marvelous, the most miraculous, the 
most magnificent, the most confounding, the most unheard of, 
the most singular, the most extraordinary, the most incredible, 
the most unforeseen, the greatest, the least, the rarest, the 
most common, the most public, the most private till to-day, 
the most brilliant, the most enviable ; in short, a thing of which 
there is but one example in past ages, and that not an exact 
one either ; a thing that we can not believe at Paris ; how 
then will it gain credit at Lyons ? a thing which makes every- 
body cry, " Lord have mercy upon us !" a thing which causes 
the greatest joy to Madame de Rohan and Madame de Haut- 
erivs; a thing, in fine, which is to happen on Sunday next, 
when those who are present will doubt , the evidence of their 
senses ; a thing which, though it is to be done on Sunday, yet 
perhaps will not be finished on Monday. I can not bring my- 
self to tell it you ; guess what it is. I give you three times to 
do it in. What, not a word to throw at a dog ? Well then, 

* Philip Emanuel de Coulanges, master of the requests, so well 
known in the gay world for his wit, humor, and the singular talent he 
had for a jovial song. He was cousin-german to Madame de Sevigne. 



LETTERS TO M. DE COULANGES. 369 

I find I must tell you. Monsieur de Lauzun* is to be married 

next Sunday at the Louvre, to pray guess to whom ! 

I give you four times to do it in, I -give you six, I give you a 
hundred. Says Madame de Coulanges, " It is really very hard 
to guess; perhaps it is Madame de la Valliere." Indeed, 
madam, it is not. " It is Mademoiselle de Eetz, then." No, 
nor she neither ; you are extremely provincial. " Lord bless 
me," say you, " what stupid wretches we are ! it is Mademoi- 
selle de Colbert all the while." Nay, now you are still further 
from the mark. " Why then it must certainly be Mademoiselle 
de Crequy." You have it not yet. Well, I find I must tell 
you at last. He is to be married next Sunday, at the Louvre, 

with the king's leave, to Mademoiselle, Mademoiselle de 

Mademoiselle — guess, pray guess her name ; he is to be mar- 
ried to Mademoiselle, the great Mademoiselle ; Mademoiselle, 
daughter to the late Monsieur ;f Mademoiselle, grand-daughter 
of Henry the IVth; Mademoiselle d'Eu, Mademoiselle de 
Dombes, Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Mademoiselle d'Or- 
leans, Mademoiselle, the king's cousin-german, Mademoiselle, 
destined to the throne, Mademoiselle, the only match in France 
that was worthy of Monsieur. What glorious matter for talk ! 
If you should burst forth like a bedlamite, say we have told 
you a lie, that it is false, that we are making a jest of you, and 
that a pretty jest it is, without wit or invention ; in short, if 
you abuse us, we shall think you quite in the right ; for we 
have done just the same things ourselves. Farewell, you will 
find by the letters you receive this post, whether we tell you 
truth or not. 



LETTER E. 

Paris, Friday, Dec. 19, 1670. 
What is called " falling from the clouds," happened last night 
at the Tuilleries ; but I must go further back. You have al- 

* Antonius Nompar de Caumont, Marquis de Puiguilhem, afterward 
Duke de Lauzun. 

f Gaston of France, Duke of Orleans, brother to Louis X T TI. 

16* 



g>70 LETTERS TO 

ready shared in the joy, the transport, the ecstacies of the prin- 
cess and her happy lover. It was just as I told you, the affair 
was made public on Monday. Tuesday was passed in talking, 
astonishment, and compliments. Wednesday, mademoiselle 
made a deed of gift to Monsieur de Lauzun, investing him with 
certain titles, names, and dignities, necessary ,to be inserted in 
the marriage-contract, which was drawn up that day. She 
gave him then, till she could give him something better, four 
duchies ; the first was that of Count d'Eu, which entitles him 
to rank as first peer of France ; the Dukedom of Montpen* 
sier, which title he bore all that day ; the Dukedom de Saint 
Fargeau ; and the Dukedom de Chatellerault, the whole val- 
ued at twenty-two millions of livres. The contract was then 
drawn up, and he took the name of Montpensier. Thursday 
morning, which was yesterday, mademoiselle was in expecta- 
tion of the king's signing the contract, as he had said that he 
would do ; but, about seven o'clock in the evening, the queen, 
monsieur, and several old dotards that were about him, had so 
persuaded his majesty that his reputation would suffer in this 
affair, that, sending for mademoiselle and Monsieur de Lauzun, 
he announced to them, before the prince, that he forbade them 
to think any further of this marriage. Monsieur de Lauzun 
received the prohibition with all the respect, submission, firm 
ness, and, at the same time, despair, that could be expected in 
so great a reverse of fortune. As for mademoiselle, she gave 
a loose to her feelings, and burst into tears, cries, lamentations, 
and the most violent expressions of grief ; , she keeps her bed 
all day long, and takes nothing within her lips but a little 
broth. What a fine dream is here ! what a glorious subject 
for a tragedy or romance, but especially talking and reasoning 
eternally ! This is what we do day and night, morning and 
evening, without end, and without intermission; we hope you 
do the same, Efra tanto vi bacio le mani : " and with this I 
kiss your hand." 



M. DE COULANGES. 3*11 

LETTER HI. 

Paris, Wednesday, Dec. 24, 1670. 
You are now perfectly acquainted with the romantic story 
of mademoiselle and of Monsieur de Lauzun. It is a story 
well adapted for a tragedy, and in all the rules of the theater ; 
we laid out the acts and scenes the other day. We took four 
days instead of four and twenty hours, and the piece was com- 
plete. Never was such a change seen in so short a time ; 
never was there known so general an emotion. You certainly 
never received so extraordinary a piece of intelligence before. 
M. de Lauzun behaved admirably ; he supported his misfor- 
tune with such courage and intrepidity, and at the same time 
showed so deep a sorrow, mixed with such profound respect, 
that he has gained the admiration of every body. His loss is 
doubtless great, but then the king's favor, which he has by 
this means preserved, is likewise great ; so that, upon the 
whole, his condition does not seem so very deplorable. Made- 
moiselle, too, has behaved extremely well on her side. She 
has wept much and bitterly ; but yesterday, for the first time, 
she returned to pay her duty at the Louvre, after having re- 
ceived the visits of every one there ; so the affair is all over. 
Adieu. 



LETTER IV. 

Paris, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 1670. 
I have received your answers to my letters. I can easily 
conceive the astonishment you were in at what passed between 
the 15th and 20th of this month ; the subject called for it all. 
I admire likewise your penetration and judgment, in imagining 
so great a machine could never support itself from Monday to 
Sunday. Modesty prevents my launching out in your praise 
on this head, because I said and thought exactly as you did. 
I told my daughter on Monday, " This will never go on as it 
should do till Sunday ; I will wager, notwithstanding this wed- 



372 LETTERS TO 

ding seems to be sure, that it will never come to a conclusion." 
In effect the sky was overcast on Thursday morning, and about 
ten o'clock, as I told you, the cloud burst. That very day I 
went about nine in the morning to pay my respects to made- 
moiselle, having been informed that she was to go out of town 
to be married, and that the coadjutor of Rheims* was to per- 
form the ceremony. These were the resolves on Wednesday 
night, but matters had been determined otherwise at the Louvre 
ever since Tuesday. Mademoiselle was writing ; she made me 
place myself on my knees at her bed-side ; she told me to 
whom she was writing, and upon what subject, and also of the 
fine presents she had made the night before, and the titles she 
had conferred ; and as there was no match in any of the courts 
of Europe for her, she was resolved, she said, to provide for 
herself. She related to me, word for word, a conversation she 
had had with the king, and appeared overcome with joy, to 
think how happy she should make a man of merit. She men- 
tioned, with a great deal of tenderness, the worth and gratitude 
of M. de Lauzun. To all which I made her this answer : 
" Upon my word, mademoiselle, your highness seems quite 
happy ! but why was not this affair finished at once last Mon- 
day ? Do not you perceive that the delay will give time and 
opportunity to the whole kingdom to talk, and that it is abso- 
lutely tempting God, and the king, to protract an affair of so 
extraordinary a nature as this is to so distant a period ?" She 
allowed me to be in the right, but was so sure of success, that 
what I said made little or no impression on her at the time. 
She repeated the many amiable qualities of Monsieur de Lau- 
zun, and the noble house he was descended from. To which I 
replied in these lines of Cornei lie's Polyeuctus : 

Du moins on ne la peut blamer d'un mauvais choix, 
Polyeucte a du nom. et sort du sang des rois. 

Her choice of him no one can surely blame, 
"Who springs from kings, and boasts a noble name. 

* Charles Maurice le Tellier. 



M. DE COULANGES. 373 

Upon which she embraced me tenderly. Our conversation 
lasted above an hour. It is impossible to repeat all that passed 
between us, but I may without vanity say that my company 
was agreeable to her, for her heart was so full that she was 
glad of any one to unburden it to. At ten o'clock she devoted 
her time to the nobility, who crowded to pay their com- 
pliments to her. She waited all the morning for news from 
court, but none came. All the afternoon she amused herself 
with putting M. de Montpensier's apartment in order, which 
she did with her own hands. You know what happened at 
night. The next morning, which was Friday, I waited upon 
her, and found her in bed ; her grief redoubled at seeing me ; 
she called me to her, embraced me, and whelmed me with 
tears. 

" Ah !" said she, " you remember what you said to me yes- 
terday ? What foresight ! what cruel foresight !" In short, 
she made me weep to see her weep so violently. I have seen 
her twice since ; she still continues in great affliction, but be- 
haves to me as to a person that sympathizes with her in her 
distress ; in which she is not mistaken, for I really feel senti- 
ments for her that are seldom felt for persons of such superior 
rank. This, however, between us two and Madame de Cou- 
langes ; for you are sensible that this chit-chat would appear 
ridiculous to others. 



LETTER V. 

The Rocks, January 8, 1690. 
What a melancholy date, my amiable cousin, compared 
with yours ! It suits a recluse like me, and that of Rome 
suits one whose fate is to wander uncontrolled, and " who 
stalks his idleness from one end of the world to the other." 
What a happy life ! and how mildly has Fortune treated you, 
as you say, notwithstanding her quarrel with you ! Always 
beloved, always esteemed, always carrying joy and pleasure 



374 LETTERS TO 

along with you, always the favorite of, and fascinated with, 
some friend of consequence — a duke, a prince, or a pope (for 
I will add the holy father by way of novelty) ; always in good 
health, never at the charge of any one, no business, no ambi- 
tion ; but, above all, the advantage of not growing old ! 
This is the height of felicity. You doubt, sometimes, whether 
you are not advancing, by certain calculations of time and 
years ; but old age is still at a distance. You do not ap- 
proach it with horror, as some persons I could name. This 
is reserved for your neighbor, and you have not even the 
fears that are usually felt at seeing a fire in your neighbor- 
hood. In short, after mature reflection, I pronounce you the 
happiest man in the world. This last journey to Rome is, in 
my opinion, the most delightful adventure that could have 
happened to you, with an adorable embassador (the Duke de 
Chaulnes), on a noble and grand occasion, and a visit to the 
beautiful mistress of the world, whom, having once seen, we 
are always longing to see again. I very much like the verses 
you have made on her. She can not be too highly celebrat- 
ed. I am sure my daughter will approve them. They are 
well written and poetical ; we sing them. I am delighted 
with what you tell me of Paulina, whom you saw at Grignan 
in your way. I have judged most favorably of her from your 
praises, and the unaffected letter you wrote to Madame de 
Chaulnes, which she has sent to me. Oh, how much I should 
like to take a journey to Rome, as you propose ! but then it 
must be with the face and air I had many years ago, and not 
with those I now have. A woman, particularly, should not 
move her old bones except to be embassadress. I believe that 
Madame de Coulanges, though still young, is of the same 
opinion ; but in my youth I should have been in raptures 
with such an adventure. It is not the same with you. Ev- 
ery thing becomes you. Enjoy, then, your privilege, and the 
jealousy you excite to know who shall be favored with you. 
I will not waste my time in arguing with you on the present 
state of affairs. All the duke's prosperities have given mo 



M. DE COULANGES. 375 

real joy. You fear precisely what all his friends apprehend, 
that, being the only one who can fill the place he holds with 
equal success and reputation, 'he will be kept in it too long. 
This apartment in your new palace creates new alarms ; but 
let us do better. Let us not anticipate evils ; rather let us 
hope that every thing will happen as we wish, and that we 
shall all meet again at Paris. I was delighted with your re- 
membrance, your letter, and your songs. Write to me when- 
ever it is agreeable and convenient. I take the liberty of 
sending this by the embassadress ; and I do more, my dear 
cousin, for under her protection I take the liberty of embrac- 
ing my dear governor of Brittany, and his excellency the em- 
bassador, with real affection, and without offense to respect. 
These hio-h dignities do not intimidate me. I am sure he still 
loves me. God bless him and bring him back again. These 
are my wishes for the new year. Adieu, my dear cousin ; I 
embrace you. Continue to love me. I wish it — it is my 
whim, and to love you more than you love me. But you are 
very amiable, and I must not place myself on a par with you. 



LETTER VI. 

GrRIGNAN, April 10, 1691. 

We have received a letter dated the 31st of March from 
our dear embassador. It came in less than a week. This 
expedition is delightful, but what he tells us is still more so. 
It is impossible to write in better spirits. My daughter takes 
upon herself to answer him, and as I desire her to send the 
Holy Ghost with all diligence, not only to create a pope,* but 
to put a speedy termination to business, that he may be able 
to pay us a visit. She assures me that she will send him 

* Alexander VIII. had been dead for two months and a few days. 
Before he died, he distributed among his nephews all the money he 
possessed, which made Pasquin say that it would have been better for 
the church to have been his niece than his daughter. 



376 LETTERS TO 

word of the conquest of Nice in five days after opening the 
trenches by M. de Catinet, and that this intelligence will pro- 
duce the same effect for our bulls. Tell us, my dear cousin, 
if we judge rightly. We have received M. de Nevers' epistle 
to the little Le Clerc of the academy. It is accompanied by 
one of your letters ; they always give us great pleasure. The 
packet came very slowly ; we know not why. There is nei- 
ther rhyme nor reason in the conduct of the post. We think 
the epistle of M. de Nevers very pretty and veiy entertaining. 
In short, all his productions have so peculiar and so excellent 
a character that after them we can relish no others. The two 
last verses of the song he made for you, charmed my daugh- 
ter as a Cartesian. Speaking of the fine wines of Italy, he 
says : 

Sur la membrane de leur sens 
Font des sillons charmans.* 

In short, it all deserves praise. For instance, can any thing 
be more humorous, in his epistle, than the smallest human 
string wound up to the highest pitch ; and the other extreme, 
of a hundred crotchets rolling in bass to the very depth of 
the abyss ? This picture is complete, and the opera of which 
he speaks is deservedly ridiculed ; but we can not comprehend 
why he has given his son's name to this epistle : cui bono ? 
and where is the wit of it ? for the style resembles his own 
as much as one drop of water resembles another. It would 
be impossible to be deceived, and the subject can give offense 
to none. If you do not explain this to us, we shall be ill. 

But let us talk of your grief at having lost this delightful 
family,f which has so well celebrated your merit in verse and 
prose, while you at the same time were so much alive to the 
charms of its society. It is easy to conceive the painfulness 
of this separation. M. de Chaulnes will not suffer us to be- 
lieve that he shares it with you. An embassador must be oc- 

* They make charming furrows upon the membrane of the senses. 
f M. and Madame de Nevers. 



M. DE COULANGES. 



377 



cupied only with the business of the king, his master, who on 
his side has taken Mons, with a hundred thousand men, 
in a manner truly heroic, going every where, visiting every 
place, and indeed, exposing himself too much. The policy of 
the Prince of Orange, who was taking his measures very 
quietly with the confederate princes for the beginning of May, 
has found itself a little disconcerted by this promptitude. 
He threatens to come to the assistance of this great place. A 
prisoner told this to the king, who replied, coolly, " We came 
here to wait for him." I defy your imagination to frame a 
more perfect and more precise answer. I therefore, suppose, 
my dear cousin, that by sending you the news of this other 
conquest,* in four days, your Rome will not be sorry to live 
paternally with her elder son. God knows whether our em- 
bassador will ably support the identity of the greatest king in 
the world, as M. de Nevers said. 

Let us return to our own country. Our little Marquis de 
Grignan went to the siege of Nice like an adventurer, vago di 
fama (eager for fame). M. de Catinet gave him the com- 
mand of the cavalry for several days, that he might not be a 
volunteer. This did not prevent him from going every where, 
from exposing himself to the fire, which was at first very 
brisk, or from bearing fascines, for this is the fashion ; but 
what sort of fascines, my dear cousin ? All from orange- 



* The town of Mons surrendered to the king on the 10th of April, 
the day on which this letter is dated, after a siege of eighteen days, 
To Boileau is attributed the following impromptu, addressed to a lad? 
who required him to write some verses upon the occasion : 



Mons etait, disait-on, pucelle 
Qu'un roi gardait avec grand soin ; 
Louis-le-Grand en eut besoin, 
Mons se rendit : vous auriez fait co 



r Of THE -r^ 

6Ua 7ERSITY 



Mons was a virgin, it is said, 
Kept by a king with greatest care ; 
Louis the Great wished for the maid, 
Mons yielded : so would you, my fair. 




378 LETTERS TO 

trees, laurels, and pomegranates ! They feared nothing but 
too great a profusion of perfumes. Never was there so beau- 
tiful or so delightful a country seen. You can conceive what 
it must be from your knowledge of Italy. This is the coun- 
try M. de Savoie has taken pleasure in losing and destroying. 
Can we call this good policy ? We expect the little colonel 
(the Marquis de Grignan), who is preparing to set out for 
Piedmont ; for this expedition to Nice is only throwing the bait 
in expectation of the game. He will not be here when you 
pass ; but do you know who will find you here ? My son, 
who is coming to spend the summer with us, and to meet his 
governor, by following the footsteps of his mother. 

By the by, spealdng of mother and son, do you know, my 
dear cousin, that I have been for these ten days or more in a 
sorrow of heart from which you alone have had the power of 
relieving me, while I have been employed in writing to you. 
This has been occasioned by the illness of the dowager Mad- 
ame de Lavardin, my most intimate and oldest friend ; this 
woman, of such excellent and sound understanding ; this illus- 
trious widow, who gathered us all under her wing ; this per- 
son of such exalted merit, has fallen suddenly into a sort of 
apoplexy ; she is drowsy, paralytic, and feverish ; when she 
is roused, she talks rationally, but she soon relapses ; in short, 
my child, my friendship could not sustain a greater loss ; I 
should feel it keenly. The Duchess de Chaulnes writes to me 
respecting her, and is very much grieved at her illness ; Mad- 
ame de la Fayette still more so. Indeed, her merit is so well 
known, that every one is interested as in a public loss ; judge, 
then, what her friends must feel. I am informed that M. de 
Lavardin is very much affected ; I hope it is true ; it is an 
honor to him to grieve for a mother to whom he is in a man- 
ner indebted for whatever he is. Adieu, my dear cousin ; my 
heart is full, I can write no more. If I had begun with this 
melancholy subject I should not have had the courage to chat 
with you as I have done, 

I shall say no more respecting the Temple, I have given my 



M. DE COULANGES. 379 

opinion of it already ; but I shall never like or approve it. 
Not so with regard to you, for I love you, and shall love and 
approve you always. 



LETTER VII 

Grionan, July 24, 1691. 

" Short reckonings make long friends :" I have received all 
your letters, my dear neighbor ; that of May 20, that of June 
4, about which you were uneasy, and the last of July 4 ; with 
the epistle M. de Nevers sent you from Genoa, and, in short, 
all the works of this duke, who is the true son of Apollo and 
the Muses. You ask me if I do not treasure all his produc- 
tions : indeed I do ; I have not lost a single one ; they have 
highly amused us, as well as every one who has passed this 
way whom we have deemed worthy of them. The last epistle is 
rather above Paulina's capacity ; but we have had the pleas- 
ure of finding ourselves capable of explaining to her what she 
did not understand. With respect to the description of the 
dinner, it is suited to the taste of the best guests ; and it made 
M. de Grignan's, the Chevalier de St. Andre's, my son's, and 
all our mouths water. I never saw so excellent a repast. I 
have just placed it among the other wonders of this duke. To 
conclude the article of letters : when you have received that 
of the 25th of June, and this, you will have received all. 

Let us now come to yours, the beginning of which had 
nearly brought me to tears. How can I fancy you confined to 
your bed, afflicted in every limb and every joint of your poor 
little body ; and your nerves so affected that you can neither 
stir hand nor foot ? This is enough to drive us to despair ; 
but to see that all this produces a song upon your melancholy 
situation, accompanied by another, the most humorous in the 
world, on a thing which you see daily ; you may suppose, my 
poor cousin, this is a real comfort to our hearts, as it proves 
that the vital principle is not attacked. This fit of the gout 



380 LETTERS TO 

has only given you the blue devils, and made you look for- 
ward tQ futurity under the most melancholy aspect in which it 
can present itself to you ; but this situation, so violent, and so 
contrary to your disposition, has not had leisure to make any 
impression on you. 

In spite of St. Peter, which is past, and of the predictions 
of the physicians, a pope is made, and the cardinals will leave 
the conclave without the event having cost them their lives ; 
on the contrary, they will recover their health and their lib- 
erty. It is not the first time that gentlemen of the faculty 
have erred in judgment. The Duke de Chaulnes has written 
us a letter by the courier, dated the 15th, which brings the 
news of the exaltation : he thinks of nothing now but of com- 
ing to see us ; he will be' with us a fortnight; and though the 
pope* be a Neapolitan, he maintains that the affair of the bulls 
is so well disposed of, that it will be the signal gun for saddling 
horses and setting out for Grignan ; this hope gives us great 
pleasure, and very much abridges the share I wished to take 
in all your melancholy calendars ; it is at an end, however, my 
dear cousin ; you are cured, you are set out, you are on the 
point of arriving here. I embrace you a thousand times. Let 
us talk a little of the table in the embassador's closet, of the 
chaos of letters, of the deep abyss of bags, of the confusion 
of papers, from which, like the infernal regions, when once a 
poor letter is thrown into it, it never comes out again. It was 
a miracle, indeed, that mine was found ; but it was my daugh- 
ter's letter, in which I had written ; she had a great inclina- 
tion to be offended at being thus lost and confounded with the 
rest ; but I appeased her in the best way I could, by assuring 
her that the embassador read what she wrote to him with the 
deepest attention, and that it was upon my lines he had not 
condescended to throw a single glance : and it is the fact ; for 
he said I had not written to him. She replied, " But as it was 
my letter, why consign it to this chaos ?" To this I knew not 

* Cardinal Pignatelli was elected pope on the 12th of July, and took 
the name of Innocent XII. 



M. DE COULANGES. 381 

what to answer ; the embassador will think of it, if he pleases. 
It is true that my poor letters have only the value you, give to 
them, by reading them as you do ; for they have their tones, 
and are unbearable when they are brayed out, or spelled word 
by word : be this as it may, my dear cousin, you give them a 
thousand times more honor than they deserve. 



LETTER Vm. 

Grignan, July 26, 1691. 
I am so astonished at the news of the sudden death of M. 
«ie Louvois,* that I know not how or where to begin the sub- 

* The death of Louvois, as it is well known, has been the subject of 
many discussions. It has been said that he was poisoned. Saint Simon 
affirms it ; and his account charges the king with this crime. Voltaire 
eays, with reason, that this is repugnant to every idea that has been 
formed of the character of Louis XIV. Of those who felt like him, 
some said that it was a revenge of the Duke de Savoy's ; others, that 
Louvois poisoned himself. The last opinion deserves to be inquired 
into. It is agreed on all sides that he was on the eve of disgrace, that 
he expected harsh treatment, that he spoke of death as preferable to 
this fall, and that he was a violent and passionate man, whom no scru- 
ple restrained. Under all these circumstances, there is nothing very 
improbable in his suicide. But it appears that this fact was never 
cleared up ; and it is an inconvenience to which we are easily resigned. 
It is certain, however, that the king made no concealment that the 
event of his death happened very opportunely to draw him out of diffi- 
culties ; it ,is also certain that the death of this man, who had done so 
much harm, was a great loss. The epitaph of Louvois, which appeared 
at that time, gave a good idea of the public opinion respecting him : 

Ici git, sous qui tout pliait, 

Et qui de tout avait connaissance parfaite ; 

Louvois que personne n'aimait, 

Et que tout le monde regrette. 

Here lies one to whom all yielded ; 

And who knew of all the bent ; 
Louvois, who sense with power wielded, 

"Whom no one loved, and all lament. 



382 LETTERS TO 

ject to you. This great minister then, this man of conse- 
quence, who held so exalted a situation, whose le moi (/), as 
M. Nicole says, was so extensive ; who was the center of so 
many things, is dead : how many affairs, designs, projects, se- 
crets, interests to unravel, wars begun, intrigues, and noble 
moves at chess, had he not to make and to conduct l m " O 
God, grant me a little time ; I want to give check to the 
Duke of Savoy, check-mate to the Prince of Orange." No, no, 
not a moment, a single moment. Can we reason upon this 
strange event ? indeed we can not ; it is in our closet we must 
reflect upon it. This is the second minister* you have seen 
expire since you have been at Rome : nothing is more differ- 
ent than the manner of their death ; but nothing more similar 
than their fortunes, and the hundred thousand chains which 
attached them both to the world. 

With regard to the great objects which ought to lead you to 
God, you say you find your religious sentiments shaken by 
what is passing at Rome and in the conclave. My poor cou- 
sin, you are deceived ; I have heard that a man of very excel- 
lent understanding drew quite a contrary inference from what 
he saw in that great city ; he concluded that the Christian 
religion must necessarily be all holy and all miraculous to 
subsist thus, of itself, in the midst of so many disorders and so 
much profanation. Do then as he did, draw the same infer- 
ences, and believe that this very city was formerly washed 
with the blood of an infinite number of martyrs ; that in the 
first centuries, all the intrigues of the conclave ended in choos- 
ing from among the priests him who appeared to have the 
greatest zeal and strength to endure martyrdom ; that there 
were thirty-seven popes who suffered, one after the other ; and 
that the certainty of their fate had no influence over them to 
make them fly from or refuse a situation to which death was 
attached, and a death of the most horrible nature. You have 
only to read this history to be convinced that a religion, sub- 
sisting by a continual miracle, both in its establishment and its 

* With M. de Seignelai. 



M. DE C0ULAN6ES, 383 

duration, can not be an invention of men. Men do not think 
thus : read St. Augustin in his Verity de la Religicm (Truth 
of Religion) ; read Abbadie,* very different indeed from that 
great saint, but not unworthy of being compared with him 
when he speaks of the Christian religion. Ask the Abbe de 
Polignac what he thinks of this book. Collect all these ideas 
and do not judge so hastily : believe that whatever intrigues 
may take place in the conclave, it is the Holy Ghost that 
always makes the pope. God works all, he is the sovereign 
of all, and this is what we ought to think : I have read this 
sentiment in a good book : " What evil can happen to a man 
who knows that God does all things, and who loves whatever 
God does ?" And with this, my dear cousin, I take my leave. 



LETTER IX. 

GrRlGNAN, August 14, 1691. 

Come hither, that I may embrace you, caress you, and tell 
you that my daughter, whose approbation you so highly value, 
is delighted with your two little couplets on the holy father. 
Nothing, in my opinion, could be better imagined, or better 
executed : we have all been in raptures. But, my dear cousin, 
the Duke de Chaulnes, in his letter of July 20, says not a word 
respecting M. de Louvois ;f his death seems to me to demand 
an exclamation or two. His hopes are very sanguine as to 
the new pope, though not the work of his hands ; all our in- 
terest is that he will give us our bulls, and that you will come 
and pay us a visit ; that day seems to me to be at our finger's 
end, so swiftly does time pass. You will find my son at Mar- 
seilles, who will be there to meet you ; this is an attention he 

* Author of a book on the Truth of the Christian Religion. He was 
a Protestant. 

f M. de Louvois died on the 16th July, and it is not surprising that 
the news of this event should not have reached M. de Chaulnes on the 
20th. 



384 LETTERS TO 

owes to our governor, by way of amends for not having gone 
to Rome. 

I long to know what you thought of the return of M. de 
Pomponne to the ministry : it was to us a subject of real joy ; 
M. and Madame de Grignan had no doubt of this event from 
a truly prophetic spirit ; but I wished it too much even to 
listen to them ; and when Madame de Vins sent the news to 
my daughter, I was so surprised and so transported that I 
knew not what I heard : at length I comprehended that it 
was a very agreeable truth, not only to me but to the rest of 
the world, for you can not form an idea how generally his re- 
turn is approved. I have paid my compliments to Madame 
de Chaulnes and our embassador, on the choice of M. de 
Beauvilliers ; this is another strange man with whom the king 
augments his council ; which is now perfect, like every thing 
his majesty does. He is the cleverest man in his kingdom, he 
is never idle, and provides for every thing ; nothing remains 
but to pray to God that he may be preserved to us. The 
dauphin enters into all the councils ; do you not also approve 
this ? it is truly associating him with the empire. We have 
subjects for admiration every where. If your good pope 
would make peace, it would be an act worthy of himself, and 
would place us in a situation to praise, with a more tranquil 
mind, all the wonders we see. Adieu, my dear cousin, you 
know how I am disposed toward you. M. de Barillon and 
M. de Jannin are dead ; we shall die too. 



LETTER X. 

Paris, February 3, 1695. 

Madame de Chaulnes sends me word that I am fortunate in 

being here in the sunshine ; she thinks all our days are woven 

with silk and gold. Alas ! my dear cousin, it is a hundred 

times colder here than at Paris; we are exposed to every 



M. DE COULANGES. 385 

wind ; it is the south wind, the north-east wind, it is the devil ; 
it is who shall insult us ; they fight among themselves which 
shall have the honor of confining us to our apartments. All 
our rivers are taken ; the Rhone, the furious Rhone, can not 
resist them. Our writing-desks are frozen, our benumbed fin- 
gers can no longer guide our pens. We breathe nothing but 
snow ; our mountains are charming in their excess of horror. 
I wish every day for a painter who could take a good repre- 
sentation of these frightful beauties ; such is our situation. 
Relate it to our good Duchess de Chaulnes, who fancies us 
to be in meadows with parasols, walking under the shadow of 
orange-trees. You have formed an excellent idea of the rural 
magnificence of our wedding ;* every one has shared in the 
praises you bestow, but we know not what you mean by the 
wedding-night. Alas, how coarse you are ! I was charmed 
with the manner and modesty of the evening ; I informed 
Madame de Coulanges so : the bride was conducted to her 
apartment; her toilet, her linen, her night-clothes, were 
brought ; she took off her head-ornaments, was undressed, and 
went to bed. We knew nothing of who came in or went out 
of her room ; every one retired to his own apartment. We 
arose the next morning without going to the bride-folks. 
They also arose, dressed themselves. No foolish questions were 
asked them : Are you my son-in-law ? are you my daughter- 
in-law ? They are what they are. No gay breakfast was pre- 
pared ; every one ate and did as he pleased ; every thing was 
conducted in silence and with modesty ; there were no un- 
comfortable looks, no confusion, no improper jests; this is 
what I had never seen before, and what struck me as being 
the most becoming and the pleasantest thing in the world. 
The cold freezes me, and makes the pen fall from my hands. 
Where are you ? at St. Martin's, at Meudon, or at Baville ? 
What happy spot contains the youthful and amiable Cou- 
langes? I have just been railing against avarice to Madame 
de Coulanges. It gives me great joy, from the riches Mad- 

* The marriage of the Marquis de Grignan. 

17 



386 LETTERS TO 

ame de Meckelbourg has left, to think I shall die without any 
ready money, but at the same time without debts ; this is all 
I ask of God, and is enough for a Christian. 



LETTER XL 

G-rignan, May 28, 1695. 

I have received your two letters from Chaulnes, my dear 
cousin ! we found some verses in them that delighted us ; we 
have sung them with extreme pleasure, and more than one 
person will tell you so, for you must not be ignorant of the 
good taste we preserve here for every thing you do. With 
respect to the gayety and charms of your mind, you certainly 
advance, and go back with respect to your register ; this is all 
that can be wished, and is what naturally lays the foundation 
of the desire every one has for your society. To whom are 
you not welcome ? with whom do you not accommodate your- 
self ? and then, which is best of all, your conduct in not ob- 
truding yourself, and in allowing room to the wish of seeing 
you, gives the true relish to your vanity. The proverb must 
be forcible indeed, if it be true, that you are not a prophet in 
your own country. I often receive news from Madame de 
Coulanges ; her correspondence is very entertaining, and her 
health ought no longer to create alarm, especially having the 
resource which we must have, that when she is tired of medi- 
cine, and undeceived with respect to it, the most salutary rem- 
edy will be to take no more. 

But to return to Chaulnes. I know its beauty, and can dis- 
cern from hence how dull our good governor is there. It is 
in vain for you to give the best reasons in the world ; he will 
constantly answer, " I do not know :" and if you go on, he 
will silence you by saying, " I shall die." This is what will 
happen, no doubt, till he has acquired a taste for repose, and 
for the charms of a quiet life. Habits are too strong, and the 
agitation attached to command and to a high station has made 



M. DE COULANGES. 387 

too deep an impression to be easily effaced. I wrote to this 
duke upon the deputation of my son, and I jested with him, 
saying things I did not believe respecting his solitude at 
Chaulnes ; I treated him like a true hermit, holding conversa- 
tions with the beautiful fountain called the solitary. I sup- 
posed his repasts suited to his situation, and that dates and 
wild fruits would compose all his banquets ; I pitied his house- 
steward, and in saying all these trifles, I found that I stood in 
great need of you ; and that the braying* I know him to pos- 
sess, would make strange work with my poor letter. You 
came to my assistance, as I supposed you would ; and you are 
now in another country, where you feel all the delight of pa- 
ternal love ; what say you ? you could not have believed it to 
be so strong if you had not experienced it ; it would have 
been a great pity if all the good instructions you have given 
to little children had not been followed by some child of your 
imagination. The little Count de Nicei is a master-piece,f and 
the singularity of being invisible makes him superior to the 
rest. You make so good a use of this story that I scarcely 
dare recall you ; you have immortalized it ; nothing can be 
prettier than these couplets ; we sing them with pleasure. We 
have had a delightful introduction of spring ; but, for two days 
past, the rain, which we do not like here, has been as violent 
as in Brittany and Paris, so that we have been accused of hav- 
ing brought it into fashion ; it interrupts our walks, but it does 
not silence our nightingales ; in short, my dear cousin, our 
days pass too quickly. We dispense with great bustle, and 
with the great world ; our society, however, would not dis- 
please you ; and if ever a puff of wind should blow you to this 
royal chateau — . But this is a chimera, we must hope to see 
you again elsewhere in a more natural and probable situation ; 
we have yet a summer before us for writing to each other. 

* M. de Chaulnes read as ill as M. de Coulanges read well. 

f The whole of this pleasantry is explained in some songs of M. de 
Coulanges to Madame de Louvois, and turns upon a story which had 
com© to them from Provence. 



388 LETTERS TO 

LETTER Xn. 

Grignan, August 6, 1695. 

I shall write you only a very snort and poor letter, my dear 
friend, to thank you for yours, which has given us great pleas- 
ure. I shall never change my opinion with respect to long 
and circumstantial details, while I read yours. We are 
charmed with Navarre ;* the situation, the building, like that 
of Marly, which I have never seen, the excellent society — all 
this convinces me that the house ought to rank with yours ; 
as for Choisy, it is made on purpose for you. Your couplets 
inform all who pass, of the nobility of its origin and its fate ; 
but you deserve to be exalted to the skies by the couplet, in 
which you humble yourself to the foot of the mount with the 
coachman of Verthamont ;\ any man who will place himself 
up to the ears in this mud, and will croak such pretty coup- 
lets, deserves the situation M. Tambonneau gives him. The 
couplet ranks with the best you have ever made ; the countess, 
whose approbation you always ask, entreats you to believe it ; 
it is charming, it surprises ; in short, croak on, and communi- 
cate your croakings to us. 

But, good God, what an effusion of blood at Namur ! how 
many tears ! how many widows ! and how many afflicted 
mothers ! And they are cruel enough to think this is not suf- 
ficient, and they wish that Marshal de Villeroi had also beaten, 
killed and massacred poor M. de Vaudemont ?J what madness ! 
I am uneasy respecting your nephew de Sanzei ; I pity his 
mother ; it is said that she is coming nearer to wait the event 
of the siege, which appears to us to be worthy of the fury of 
the marshal (de Boufflers) who defends it ; no opportunity of 
fighting is lost. Our Germany is very quiet ; our principal 

* A chateau near Evreux, which belonged to the Duke de Bouillon, 
f A famous coachman, who made all the songs of the Pont-ueuf. 
% M. de Vaudemont made a noble retreat before Marshal de Villeroi^ 
who had lost time. 



M. DE COULANGES. 389 

anxiety is for her.* Adieu, my dear cousin ; did 1 not prom- 
ise you that my letter would be dull ? We have sometimes 
sorrows, and we know why ; I speak of them to Madame ue 
Coulanges. My daughter sends you her remembrances ; you 
have highly amused her by your songs and your chat, for 
your letter is a true conversation. I have scattered your re- 
membrances in every apartment ; they have been received, and 
are returned with zeal. I embrace you, my amiable cousin, 
and exhort you still to spend your time delightfully in honor 
of polygamy,f which, instead of being a hanging-case to you, 
constitutes all the pleasure and happiness of your life. 



LETTER Xm. 



Grignan, October 15, 1695. 
I have just been writing to our Duke and Duchess de 
Chaulnes ; but I excuse you from reading my letters ; they 
are not worth reading. I defy all your emphasis, all your points 
and commas to produce any good effect, therefore leave them 
as they are ; besides, I have spoken of several little things to 
our duchess, which are not very entertaining. The best thing 
you could do for me, my good cousin, would be to send us, by 
some subtle magic, all the blood, all the vigor, all the health, 
and all the mirth which you have to spare, to transfuse it into 
my child's frame. For these three months she has been 
afflicted with a species of disorder which is said to be not 
dangerous, and which I think the most distressing and the 
most alarming of any. I own to you, my dear cousin, that it 
destroys me, and that I have not fortitude enough to endure 
all the bad nights she makes me pass ; in short, her last state 
has been so violent that it was necessary to have recourse to 

* On account of the Marquis de Grignan, who was in the army of 
Germany. 

f A jest on the subject of M. de Coulanges' second wife, Madamo 
de Louvois. 



390 LETTERS TO 

bleeding in the arm ; strange remedy, which makes blood t> 
be shed when too much has been shed already ; it is burning 
the taper at both ends ; she has told me so, for, in the midst 
of her weakness and change, nothing can exceed her courage 
and patience. If we could regain strength, we should soon 
take the road to Paris ; it is what we wish, and then we would 
present the Marchioness of Grignau to you, with whom you 
must already begin to be acquainted on the word of the Duke 
de Chaulnes, who has very gallantly forced open her door, 
and has drawn a very pleasing likeness of her. Preserve your 
friendship for us, my dear cousin, however unworthy of it our 
sorrow may make us ; we must love our friends with all their 
faults ; it is a great one to be ill : God grant, my dear friend, 
that you may escape it. I write to Madame de Coulanges in 
the same plaintive tone, which will not quit me ; for how is it 
possible not to be as ill in mind as this countess, whom I see 
daily before my eyes, is in body ? Madame de Coulanges is 
very fortunate in being out of the scrape. It seems to me as 
if mothers ought not to live long enough to see their daugh- 
ters in such situations ; I respectfully complain of it to Provi- 
dence. 



LETTER XIV. 



G-RIGNAN, March, 1696. 
I know not how the affairs of England go on ; the Countess 
de Fiesque is the only, one who has a good opinion of them, 
and is still certain that they will end well. I have taken three 
meals at the Marsans', which agree very well with me ; I shall 
put their whole family into my basket. M. de Marsan always 
reminds his wife that she is no longer Madame de Seignelai ; 
and that, being only Madame de Marsan, she must accommo- 
date herself to all his friends, of whatever form or rank, and 
let every one live after his own way. I am to go on Saturday 
to Saint Martin's, and to-morrow I shall go to Versailles, to 



M.BECOULANGES. 39 1 

condole with my friend, and pass the day with Mescames de 
Villeroi and Mademoiselle de Bouillon, whom I shall find there. 
Madame de Guise has ordered her funeral to be conducted 
without ceremony, and has preferred the burial-ground of the 
Carmelites of the great convent, to all the pomp of Saint 
Denis, with the kings her ancestors. She was only forty-nine 
years of age. Father de la Ferte will preach again on Wed- 
nesday ; and on Friday, without saying a word, he will set off 
for Canada. If he were not to take his departure in this way, 
it would cause a tumult, he is so much liked by the populace ; 
the Church of the Jesuits was too small for the multitude 
which crowded to his sermons. 

I have just been dining at the Hotel de Chaulnes, where I 
met the Marquis de Grignan ; he can tell you that I was not 
in a very ill humor. Madame (La marechale) de Villeroi yes- 
terday announced to Madame de Saint-Geran the death of her 
husband ; and the duke has taken upon himself the charge of 
the funeral this evening. He will probably be the privileged 
creditor on the inheritance, for he will advance, no doubt, what 
is necessary for the ceremony. This is all I know, madam ; I, 
therefore, conclude, and take leave of you till my return from 
Saint Martin's, which will be when it pleases God. Madame 
de Coulanges is free from the colic ; she only comjalains that 
she has sometimes the little colic, which does not prevent her 
from eating and drinking, and associating with the young. 
She is very partial to the Chevalier de Bouillon and Count 
d'Albret, and she was delighted to meet M. de Marsan again, 
with whom she has renewed a snuff acquaintance. Winter is 
come back within these two days : it has snowed and frozen 
in such a manner, that we must expect no apricots ; I fear the 
peaches also will suffer. Madame de Frontenac has a violent 
cold and fever ; the fashion of dying alarms us for her. Our 
poor D'Enclos has also a slow fever, which returns slightly 
every evening, with a sore throat, that makes her friends un- 
easy ; in short, I very much fear that the work of death is not 
at an end. 



392 LETTERS TO 

LETTER XV * 

Grignan, March 29, 1696. 
When I have no other employment I weep and bewail 
aloud the death of Blanchefort, that amiable, that excellent 
youth, who was held up to all our young people as a model 
for imitation. A reputation completely established, valor ac- 
knowledged and worthy of his name, a disposition happy for 
himself (for a bad disposition is a torment to its possessor), for 
his friends, and for his family ; alive to the affection of his 
mother and his grandmother, loving them, honoring them, ap- 
preciating their merit, taking pleasure in proving to them his 
gratitude, and thereby repaying them for their extreme affec- 
tion ; uniting good sense with a fine person ; not vain of his 
youth, as most young people are, who seem to think them- 
selves paragons of perfection — and this dear boy, with all his 
perfections, gone in a moment, like a blossom borne away by 
the wind, without being in battle, without having an oppor- 
tunity to fight, and without breathing even an unhealthy air ! 
Where, my dear cousin, can we find words to express our ideas 
of the grief of these two mothers, and to convey to them an 
adequate sense of what we feel here ? We do not think of 
writing tcf them, but if at any time you should have an oppor- 
tunity of mentioning my daughter, and me, and the Grignans, 
make known our regret at this irreparable misfortune. Mad- 
ame de Vins has lost every thing, I own ;f for when the heart 
has chosen between two sons, one only is seen. I can talk of 
nothing else. I bow in reverence to the holy and modest 
tomb of Madame de Guise, whose renunciation of that of the 
kings her ancestors, merits an eternal crown. I think M. de 
Saint-Geran happy indeed, and so I think you, for having to 
comfort his wife ; say to her for us every thing you think 

* As the death of Madame de Sevigne happened in the beginning of 
April, it is probable that this letter is the last she wrote. "We consider 
its recovery as a fortunate circumstance. 

f Madame de Tins had lost an only son. 



M. DE COULANGES. 393 

proper. And as for Madame de Miramion, that mother of the 
church, she will be a public loss. Adieu, my dear cousin, I 
can not change my tone. You have finished your jubilee. 
The delightful trip to Saint Martin's has closely followed the 
sackcloth and ashes you mentioned to me. The happiness M. 
and Madame de Marsan are now enjoying well deserves that 
you should sometimes see them, and put them into your bas- 
ket ; and I deserve a place in that in which you put those who 
love you ; but I fear that for them you have no basket, 

17* 



SELECTIONS FROM VARIOUS LETTERS* 



A Supper. — We supped again yesterday with Madame de 
Scarron and the Abbe Tetu, at Madame de Coulanges\ We 
had a great deal of chat, in which you had your share. We 
took it into our heads to conduct Madame de Scarron home, 
at midnight to the very furthest end of the Faubourg St. 
Germain, a great way beyond Madame de la Fayette's, almost 
as far as Vaugirard, and quite in the country, where she lives 
in a large handsome house — the entrance of which is forbidden 
to every one — with a large garden, and beautiful and spacious 
apartments ; she has an equipage, servants, and a genteel table : 
dresses neatly, but elegantly, in the style of a woman who 
associates with people of rank; she is amiable, handsome, 
good, free from affectation, and, in a word, an excellent com- 
panion. We returned very merrily, in the midst of a number 
of flambeaux, and in full security from thieves. 

* These selections from letters necessarily omitted in our plan, com- 
prise nearly, if not quite all, that is of literary or moral value in the 
whole series. We are thus able to give a more distinct impression of 
Madame de Sevigne's character as a mother and a Christian. Besides 
the many amusing anecdotes here collected, her sentiments on im- 
portant duties of life are of much value ; and her religious feelings are 
deserving distinct recognition. It will be seen that she studied her 
Bible, and strove to follow its divine teachings ; like Fenelon, though 
nominally a Romanist, or rather Jansenist, she had in her heart and 
mind protested against the corruptions of that Church. Her clear 
insight, just principles, and heart-piety are remarkably displayed in 
these extracts. 



SELECTIONS FROM VARIOUS LETTERS. 395 

Port Royal. — That Port Royal is a perfect Thebais, a very 
paradise; a desert where all that is left of true Christian 
devotion is retired. The whole country for a league round 
breathes the air of virtue and holiness. The nuns are angels 
upon earth. Mademoiselle -de Vertus is wearing out the re- 
mains of a miserable life there, in the most excruciating pain, 
but with inconceivable resignation. The very meanest of the 
inhabitants have a virtuous serenity in their countenances, and 
a modesty of deportment to be met with in no other place. I 
own to you I was delighted to see this divine solitude of which 
I have heard so much ; it is a frightful valley, calculated to 
inspire a taste for religion. 

Hints about Children. — A word about the little Marquis 
(de Grignan) ;* I beseech you not to be under any apprehen- 
sion about his timidity. Remember that the charming Mar- 
quis (de la Chatre) used to tremble and quake till he was 
twelve years old, and that La Troche, when young, was so 
terrified at the least thing, that his mother could not bear to 
have him in her sight ; and yet you see how much they have 
distinguished themselves since : let that comfort you. Fears 
of this kind are the mere effect of childhood, and when child- 
hood is surmounted, instead of being afraid of raw-head and 
bloody bones, these personages are afraid only of being thought 
fearful, are afraid of being less esteemed than others, and that 
is sufficient to make them brave, and kill their thousands and 
ten thousands : let me then again beg you to make yourself 
easy on that score. As to his shape, it is another matter : I 
would advise you to put him into breeches, and then you will 
see better how his legs go on, and whether they are straight- 
ened as he grows. You must let him have room to stir him- 
self, and unfold his little limbs: but you must put. on him a 
pretty tight vest, which will confine his shape. I shall receive 
some further instructions, however, on this subject, which I 
will not fail to transmit to you. It would be a fine thing in- 

* Grandson of Madame de Sevigne. 



396 SELECTIONS PROM 

deed to see a Grignan with a bad shape ! Do you not remem- 
ber how pretty he was in his swaddling-clothes ? I am no 
less uneasy than yourself at this alteration. 



^Reflections. — What you say of death taking the liberty of 
interrupting fortune is admirable ; this ought to comfort those 
who are not in the number of her favorites, and to diminish 
the bitterness of death. You ask me if I am religious : alas ! 
my dear, I am not sufficiently so, for which I am very sorry ; 
but yet I think I am somewhat detached from what is called 
the world. Age and sickness give us leisure enough for serious 
reflection ; but what I retrench from the rest of the world I 
bestow upon you, so that I make but small advances in the 
path of detachment ; and you know that the law of the game 
is to begin by effacing a little what is dearest to our heart. 



Versailles in 1676. — I was on Saturday at Versailles with 
the Villars. You know the ceremony of attending on the 
queen at her toilet, at mass, and at dinner ; but there is now 
no necessity of being stifled with the heat, and with the crowd, 
while their majesties dine : for at three, the king and queen, 
monsieur, madame, mademoiselle, the princes and princesses, 
Madame de Montespan, and her train, the courtiers, and the 
ladies, in short the whole court of France, retire to that fine 
apartment of the king's which you know. It is furnished with 
the utmost magnificence ; they know not there what it is to 
be incommoded with heat ; and pass from one room to another 
without being crowded. A game at reversis gives a form to 
the assembly, and fixes every thing. The king and Madame 
de Montespan keep a bank together. Monsieur, the queen, 
and Madame de Soubize, Dangeau, and Langle, with their 
companies, are at different tables. The baize is covered with 
a thousand louis-d'ors ; they use no other counters. I saw 
Dangeau play, and could not help observing how awkward 
others appeared in comparison of him. He thinks of nothing 
but his game, though he scarcely seems to attend to it ; he 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 397 

gains where others lose; takes every advantage; nothing 
escapes or distracts him ; in short, his good conduct defies 
fortune. Thus, two hundred thousand francs in ten days, a 
hundred thousand crowns in a month, are added to his 
account-book under the head received. He had the com- 
plaisance to say I was a partner with him in the bank, by 
which means I was seated very commodious! y. I bowed to 
the king in the way you taught me ; and he returned my 
salutation, as if I had been young and handsome. The queen 
talked to me of my illness, nor did she leave you unmentioned. 
The duke paid me a thousand of those unmeaning compli- 
ments which he bestows so liberally. M. de Lorges attacked 
me in the name of the Chevalier de Grignan ; and, in short, 
tutti quanti (all the rest). You know what it is to receive a 
word from every one who passes you. Madame de Montes- 
pan talked to me of Bourbon, and desired me to tell her how 
I liked Vichi, and whether I had found any benefit there. 
She said that Bourbon, instead of removing the pain from her 
knee, had given her the tooth-ache. Her beauty and her 
shape are really surprising ; she is much thinner than she 
was ; and yet neither her eyes, her lips, nor her complexion 
are injured. She was dressed in French point ; her hair in a 
thousand curls, and the two from her temples very low upon 
her cheeks ; she wore on her head black ribbons, intermixed 
with the pearls which once belonged to the Marechale de 
l'Hopital, diamond pendants of great value, and three or four 
bodkins. In a word, she appeared a triumphant beauty, cal- 
culated to raise the admiration of all the foreign embassadors. 
She has heard that complaints were made of her having pre- 
vented all France from seeing the king ; she has restored him, 
as you see, and you can not imagine the delight this has 
occasioned, nor the splendor it has given to the court. This 
agreeable confusion, without confusion, of all the most select 
persons in the kingdom, lasts from three o'clock till six. If 
any couriers arrive, the king retires to read his letters, and 
returns to the assembly. There is always music, to which he 



398 SELECTIONS FROM 

sometimes listens, and which has an admirable effect : in the 
mean time, he chats with the ladies who are accustomed to 
have that honor. They leave off their game at the hour I 
mentioned, without the trouble of reckoning, because they use 
no marks or counters. The pools are of five, six, or seven 
hundred, and sometimes of a thousand or twelve hundred 
louis-d'ors. 

At six they take the air in caleshes ; the king and Madame 
de Montespan, the prince and Madame de Thianges, and 
Mademoiselle d'Heudicourt, upon the little seat before, which 
seems to her a seat in paradise. You know how these caleshes 
are made ; they do not sit face to face in them, but all look 
the same way. The queen was in another with the princesses : 
the whole court followed in different equipages, according to 
their different fancies. They went afterward in gondolas 
upon the canal, where there was music : at ten the comedy 
began, and at twelve they concluded the day with the Spanish 
entertainment of media noche ; thus we passed the Saturday. 



The Telescope. — Apropos, did I mention to you an ex- 
cellent telescope that amused us exceedingly in the boat ? It 
is really a master-piece of its kind ; it is a still better one than 
that which the abbe left with you at Grignan. This glass 
brings objects quite home that are at three leagues' distance ; 
alas ! that it would bring those which are two hundred ! You 
may easily guess the use we made of it on the banks of the 
Loire, but I have found a new method of using it, which is 
this: you know that one end brings objects nearer to you, 
and the other throws them to a great distance ; now this end 
I turn toward Mademoiselle du Plessis, and in a moment I 
see her three leagues from me. I tried this experiment the 
other day on her, and the rest of my neighbors ; this was 
amusing, but nobody knew what I meant by it ; if there had 
been any one to whom I could have given the hint, the plea- 
sure would have been greater. When tired with disagreeable 
company, it is only to send for the glass, and look through it 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 399 

at the end that distances the objects. Ask Montgobert, if she 
would not have laughed heartily. This is a pretty subject to 
talk nonsense upon. If you have Corbinelli with you, let me 
recommend the use of the glass to you. 

Adieu, my dear ; we are not mountains, as you say, so I 
hope to embrace you a little nearer than two hundred leagues : 
but you are going still further off; I have a great mind to set 
out for Brest. It is very hard, in my opinion, that the grand- 
duchess should not have the good Rarai as her lady of honor ; 
the Guisardes have appointed La Sainte-Meme to the office. 
I hear that La Trousse's good fortune is doubled, and that he 
will have De Froulai's situation. 



Rules of Living. — I am never in bed more than seven 
hours, and I eat sparingly : I add to your precepts walking a 
great deal, but the worst is, that I can not prevent somber 
thoughts from intruding into my long gloomy avenues. Sad- 
ness is poison to us, and the source of the vapors. You are 
right in thinking this disorder is imaginary ; you have ad- 
mirably defined it ; it is sorrow that gives birth to, and fear 
that nourishes it. 



Work. — I was employed yesterday on a piece of work as 
tedious as the company I had : I never work but when I have 
company ; when I am alone, I walk, I read, or write. La 
Plessis incommodes me no more than Maria ; I am so happy 
as to have no inclination to listen to any thing she says, and 
find as little interruption from her presence, as you do from 
some whom you have the same kind of regard for. In other 
respects she has the best sentiments in the world ; I admire 
how all her good qualities are spoiled by her impertinent and 
ridiculous manners. It is quite laughable to hear what she 
says of my patience in bearing with her ; how she explains it ; 
and the obligations she fancies it lays her under to attach her- 
self to me ; and how I serve her for an excuse for not visiting 
her friends at Vitre. It would make you smile, to observe 



400 SELECTIONS FROM 

her little arts to satisfy her vanity (for vanity is the growth of 
every soil) ; and her affected fears that I am growing jealous 
of a nun of Vitre, for whom she has a partiality. All this 
would make an excellent farce. 



Evening Employments. — I was perfectly rejoiced to return 
here ; I am making a new walk, which employs me wholly. 
I pay my workmen in corn ; and find nothing so profitable as 
to amuse one's self, and forget, if possible, the evils of life. 
Neither do my evenings, my child, about which you are so 
much in pain, hang more heavily on my hands : I am almost 
always writing, or reading, and midnight overtakes me before 
I know where I am. Our abbe (her uncle) takes his leave of 
me at ten, and the two hours that I am alone, are no more 
irksome to me than the rest. In the day I am either em- 
ployed with the abbe, or among my dear laborers, or in my 
favorite work. In short, my dear, life flies away so swiftly, 
and we are always drawing so near our end, that I can not 
conceive how people can make themselves so unhappy about 
worldly affairs. I have here sufficient time for reflection, and 
it is my fault, and not that of the place, if I do not indulge 
it. I am quite well ; all my people obey you admirably : 
they are ridiculously careful of me ; they come to guard me 
home in the evening armed cap-a-pie, and it is against a 
squirrel they draw their swords. 



An Impromptu Marriage. — M. de Chaulnes concluded a 
marriage the other day, which gave me pleasure, between the 
little Du Guesclin, and a very pretty girl with a large fortune ; 
when he had with great difficulty settled the articles, he said, 
" Let us draw up the contract ;" the parties consented, and he 
immediately resumed, saying, " What prevents their being 
married to-morrow ?" Every one exclaimed, " There must be 
wedding-clothes, a toilet, and linen." — He laughed at this. 
M. de Rennes gave a dispensation of two banns, and the next 
day being Sunday, one was published in the morning, and 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 401 

they were married at noon ; after dinner the little bride danced 
like an angel ; she had learned at Paris of the duchess' mas- 
ter, and had caught her air ; the next day she was Madame 
du Guesclin, and had saved 20,000 livres that would other- 
wise have been spent in the wedding. It is consistent with 
good sense to rise superior sometimes to trifles and customs. 



A Bride. — Madame de Coulanges informs me that the new 
Madame de la Fayette was reclined upon a magnificent bed in 
a noble house ; the room hung with beautiful tapestry belong- 
ing to the Keeper of the Seals ; the bed decorated with an an- 
cient mantle of the order, and the room hung with fine tapes- 
try, having the arms ornamented with the staves of the 
Marshal of France, and the collar of the order ; looking-glasses, 
chandeliers, glass plates, and crystals, according to the present 
fashion, out of number ; a great many servants, and valets- 
de-chambre in livery ; the bride in an elegant dress. In short, 
such taste reigns in the house of the new-married couple and 
in their family, that our Madame de la Fayette ought to be 
perfectly satisfied at her son's having formed so great and 
honorable an alliance. 



Bleeding. — You tell me you have found it necessary to be 
bled ; the trembling hand of your young surgeon makes me 
tremble. The prince said one day to a new surgeon, " Does 
not the idea of bleeding me make you tremble V — " Faith sir," 
replied the man, " your highness has most reason to tremble." 
He was in the right. 

Company. — I have for a long time adopted your opinion, 
that bad company is preferable to good : how dismal it is to 
part with the good ! and what a pleasure it is to get rid of 
the bad ! Do you remember how we were tormented at 
Fouesnel, and how overjoyed we were when the company 
thought proper to take their leave ? I think we may then 
establish it as a maxim, that nothing is more desirable than 



402 SELECTIONS FROM 

bad company, and nothing more to be dreaded than good. 
Let whoever is puzzled with this enigma call upon us for the 
solution of it. 



Quarrels in High Life. — I think I mentioned to you the 
quarrel between the Duke de Ventadour and the Duke 
d'Aumont ; the latter was returning from Bourbon with his 
wife, and the Duchess de Ventadour and the Chevalier de 
Tilladet. The Duke de Ventadour was at an estate he has in 
the same county, called La Motte. He had desired his wife 
to come to him there, and sent, at the same time, to invite the 
whole company, but was refused ; he then came himself, but 
was ill received, because, following the company about from 
dinner-time till bed-time, his conversation was mixed continu- 
ally with menaces and reproaches ; in short, he was like Don 
Quixotte, pistol in hand, threatening and challenging the gen- 
tlemen. The chevalier treated him as a person fit only for 
Bedlam. At length the ladies arrived in great fear at Paris, 
where the king, being informed of what had happened, sent a 
guard to take care of Madame Ventadour, so that she is now 
under the protection of his majesty. What think you the 
monster did ? he went to the king, attended by his neighbors, 
that is, the Princes de Conde, de Conti, Messieurs de Luxem- 
bourg, Duras, Schomberg, Bellefond ; and, with incredible as- 
surance, told the king that the Chevalier de Tilladet had not 
paid him the respect due to his rank ; mark the expression : 
he places the dukedom where it was formerly. " Sire," said 
he, " I want to know why I am refused the company of my 
wife ! what has happened to my person of late ? Am I uglier, 
or more ill made than formerly, when I was as much courted 
as I am now avoided ? If I am ugly, sire, is ifc my fault ? 
Had I been my own maker, I would have been like your maj- 
esty ; but these are things that are not in our own disposal." 
In short, partly owing to this natural and proper, and at the 
same time unexpected, flattery, and partly to the justice of his 
argument, the king was pleased with him, as well as the whole 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 403 

court However, they are to be separated ; the difficulty is, 
that he insists that his wife shall be shut up in a convent, 
which is a sad affair. M. de la Rochefoucault is employed to 
accommodate this business, and settle matters between the 
gentlemen. 

Extravagance of M. de Sevigne. — I have been ready to 
weep to see the desolation of this estate ; there were the finest 
trees in the world upon it, and my son, in his last journey, 
gave the finishing stroke to the last. He would even have 
sold a little copse, which was the greatest ornament of the 
place. Is not this lamentable ? He scraped together four 
hundred pistoles by this plunder, of which he had not a single 
penny left in a month. It is impossible to think with pa- 
tience how he acts, and what his Brittany journey cost him, 
notwithstanding he discharged his coachman and footman at 
Paris, and took nobody but Larmechin with him. He has 
found out the art of spending an immense deal of money, 
without making any show for it, of losing without playing, and 
of paying without discharging his debts. War or peace, he is 
forever crying out for money ; in short, he is a perpetual 
drain, and what he does with his money I can not conceive, for 
he appears to have no particular passion. I really think his 
hand is a crucible, which melts money the instant it is put 
into it. ********* 

My son writes me word that he is going to play at reversis 
with his young master :* this makes my blood run cold within 
me ; two, three, or four hundred pistoles are lost before we 
can look around us. " This is nothing for Admetus, but 2 
great deal for him." If people, before they play, would think 
that they may possibly lose a great deal, and that debts of honor 
must be paid immediately, they would not be so ready to en- 
gage in such parties ; but the misfortune is, that every one 
thinks he shall v, in, and this leads him on to destruction. If 

* The Dauphin. 



404 SELECTIONS FROM 

Dangeau is one of the party, he will carry off every thing ; for 
he is a perfect harpy at play. However, it will all turn out as 
it shall please God, and so it will be with the 6,000 francs 
which I expected to receive from Nantes, and which a demon 
has interfered in the shape of a point of law, that throws us as 
far back as ever. 



Gaming. — They play extravagantly high at Versailles : the 
koca* is forbidden at Paris under pain of death, and yet it is 
played at court : five or six thousand pistoles of a morning is 
nothing to lose. This is no better than picking of pockets. 
I beseech you to banish this game from among you. 

TV •!* »|* ^» *J» t* t* 

The other day the queen missed going to mass, and lost 
twenty thousand crowns in one morning. The king said to 
her, " Let us calculate, madam, how much this is a year." 
And M. de Montausier asked her the next day, if she intended 
staying away from mass for the hoca again ; upon which she 
was in a great passion. I have heard these stories from per- 
sons who have come from Versailles, and who collect them for 
nie# ******* 

But now about this Ireland* what a folly is it to lose so 
much money at such a rascally game ! It has been banished 
from us for a downright cut-throat. We do things in a more 
serious manner. You play against all chance : you lose for- 
ever : take my advice, and do not continue it : consider it is 
throwing money away without having any amusement for it : 
on the contrary, you have paid 5,000 or 6,000 francs to be the 
mere dupe of fortune. But I am rather too warm, my dear, 

and must say with Tartufle, " 'tis through excess of zeal." 
* * * * * * * 

I will tell you, my dear child, a thought that has occurred 
to me on the frequent losses you and M. de Griguan sustain at 
cards. I would have you both be cautious. It is not pleas 

* A game at cards. 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 405 

ant to be made a dupe of ; and be assured that it is i/ )t nat- 
ural to be perpetually the winner or the loser. It is not long 
since I was led into the tricks of the Hotel de la Vieuville. 
You remember, I suppose, how our pockets were picked there. 
You are not to imagine every body plays as fairly as you do 
yourself. The concern I have for your interest makes me say so 
much ; and as it comes from a heart entirely devoted to you, 
I am persuaded you will not be displeased at it. 



Providence. — You say you never mention Providence but 
when you have a disorder on your lungs, whereas that subject 
always exhausts mine, for I can find none that furnishes so 
large a field for discussion, observation and inquiry ; and why 
may we not discourse as well on this as on natural philosophy 1 
Why did you not still say, as you did last year, that our fears, 
our reasonings, our decisions, our wills, our desires, are only 
so many means employed by God for the execution of his 
purposes ? Is not this an inexhaustible subject, fraught with 
the most entertaining variety ? ***** 

Believe me there is no experiment in natural philosophy more 
interesting than the investigation of the connection and divers- 
ity of our several sentiments ; so that you see, It is God's 
will may be paraphrased in a thousand different ways. 



Free Will. — I have no other answer to make you upon 
what St. Augustin says, except that I hear and understand 
him, when he tells me, and repeats to me five hundred times 
in the same book, that all things depend, as the apostle says, 
" not on him that willeth, nor on him that runneth, but on 
God, that showeth mercy to whom it pleaseth him ; that it is 
not for any merit in man, that God bestows his grace, but 
according to his own good pleasure ; that man may not glory 
in his own strength, seeing he receives all things from God." 
His whole book is in this strain, filled with passages from 
Scripture, the writings of the Apostle Paul, and the Homilies 
of the Church. He calls our free will, a deliverance, and an 



406 SELECTIONS FROM 

aptitude to love God, because we are no longer under the 
dominion of the devil, and are chosen from all eternity, accord- 
ing to the decrees of the Almighty before all ages. "Wren I 
read in this book the following passage, "How could God 
call men to judgment, if they were not free agents ?" I con- 
fess I am at a loss to understand it, and am disposed to think 
it a mystery : but as free will can not put our salvation in our 
own power, and as we must always be dependent on God, I 
have no desire to understand it better, and will endeavor, as 
much as possible, to remain in a state of humility and depend- 
ence. 



Devices. — As to devices, my dear child, my poor brain is 
in a very bad condition for thinking of any, much less for 
inventing them ; however, as there are twelve hours in the 
day, and above fifty in the night, my memory has furnished 
me with a rocket raised to a great height in the air, with these 
words ; Che peri, pur che sHnnalzi* I am afraid I have seen 
this somewhere in the late tournaments, though I can not 
exactly say where or when ; for I think it too pretty to be 
my own. I remember also having seen in some book, a 
rocket on the subject of a lover who had been bold enough to 
declare himself to his mistress, with these words, Da Vardore 
Vardire,\ which is pretty but does not apply in this instance. 
I am not quite sure whether the first I have mentioned is in 
strict conformity to the rules of devices : for I do not perfectly 
understand them ; all I know is, that it pleased me, and 
whether it was in a tournament, or on a seal, is a matter of 
no great importance; it is scarcely possible to invent new 
ones for every occasion. You have heard me a thousand 
times repeat that part of a line in Tasso, Ealte non temo :\ I 
used to repeat this so often, that the Count de Chapelles had 
a seal engraved, with an eagle flying toward the sun, and 

* Let it perish, so it be exalted, 
f My boldness arises from my ardor. 
% I rise without fear. 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 407 

Halte non temo for the motto : a very happy device. * * 
* * M. de Montmoron came hither post : among other 
things we were talking about devices : he assures me he does 
not remember to have seen any where the one I proposed : he 
knew the one with these words, Da Vardore Vardire, but that 
is not the thing : the other, he says, is much more complete, 
Che peri, pur che s'innalzi. And whether it is my own, or 
borrowed, he thinks it excellent. ***** 
I have seen a device which suits me exactly ; it is a leafless 
tree, apparently dead, with this inscription round it, Fin che 
sol ritorni* What think you of it, my child ? 



The Use of Reason. — I am still alone, my dear child, 
without being dull : my health is good ; I have plenty of 
books, work, and fine weather ; these, with a little reason, go 
a great way. 

Pecuniary Embarrassments. — You ask, why am I not 
with you ? Alas ! I could easily answer you, if I were 
inclined to debase my letter with a detail of the reasons that 
obliged me to quit you, of the misery of this country, the 
sums that are owing me here, the delays in the payment of 
them, what I owe elsewhere, and- the ruin my affairs must 
have sustained had I not taken this resolution in time. You 
well know that I put it off for two years with pleasure ; but 
there are extremes, my dear child, in which we should destoy 
every thing in attempting to wrestle with necessity ; the prop- 
erty I possess is no longer my own ; I must preserve the 
same honor and the same probity I have all my life professed. 
This, this, my child is the cruel cause that tears me from you ; 
and is this a subject to entertain you with ? 



An Obstinate Son. — In regard to my son, I find I have 
courage enough to tell him my sentiments without disguise. 
I wrote him a letter which I think unanswerable ; but the 

* Till the sun returns. 



408 SELECTIONS FROM 

more I enforce my reasons, the more he urges Lis arguments, 
and he appears so determined, that I now perfectly understand 
what is meant by an unconquerable wish. There is a degree 
of ardor in the desire which animates him, that no prudence 
can withstand. I can not accuse myself of having preferred 
my own interest to his. I wish for nothing but to see him 
walk in the path I have traced out for him. He is wrong in 
all his arguments, and far beside the mark ; I have endeav- 
ored to set him right by incontestable arguments, corrobor- 
ated by the opinion of all our friends ; and ask him if he has 
not some doubts, seeing he is alone in an opinion which every 
one else disapproves ? He answers me always by an obstinate 
perseverance ; so that I am reduced to the last expedient, 
that of keeping him from making a rash or injurious bar- 
gain. 

A Forgiving Mother. — As I was returning from my walk 
yesterday, I met the poor f rater* at the end of the mall, who 
immediately fell upon his knees, so conscious of having done 
wrong in having been three weeks under ground, singing 
matins, that he thought he dared not approach me otherwise. 
I had resolved to scold him heartily, but I was so glad to see 
him, that I could not find an angry word to use. You know 
how entertaining he is ; he embraced me a thousand times, 
and gave me the worst reasons in the world ; which, however, 
I received as sterling ; we chat, we read, we walk, and we 
wear away the year ; or rather, what is left of it. 



Love — its symptoms. — You want to know the symptoms 
of this love, of which I spoke to you the other day. Imprimis, 
To be the first on all occasions to deny it : to affect an air of 
great indifference, which is a sure mark of the contrary : the 
opinion of those who can judge from being near : the public 
voice : an entire suspension of all motion in the globular 
machine : a neglect of ordinary concerns to attend to a single 

* Her son. 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 409 

one : a continual satirizing old people who are so foolish as to 
be in love. " Such nonsense ! they must be idiots ! fools ! 
And with a young woman too ! Very pretty indeed ! it 
would become me mighty well ! I had rather break both my 
arms and legs." And then we make answer internally : u In- 
deed what you say is very true ; but, for all that you are in 
love : you tell us all these fine things : your reflections are 
doubtless very just, very true, very tormenting ; but for all 
that you are in love ; reason is on your side, but love is 
stronger than reason ; at the same time you are sick, you 
weep, you are out of humor, and you are in love.* 



Chess. — You tell me of chess what I have often thought 
before. In my opinion, there could not have been contrived 
a better expedient to humble pride than this game, which at 
once sets before our view the narrowness and insignificance of 
the human mind. I think it would be of real utility to any 
one fond of such reflections. But then, on the other hand, 
the foresight, the penetration, the address in defending our- 
selves, as in attacking our adversary, the success attending the 
right management of the game, is so pleasing, and affords so 
much inward satisfaction, that it may at the same time nourish 
our pride and swell our self-sufficiency. I am still far from 
being cured of this passion, and therefore want to be further 
convinced of my own weakness. 



Alone. — I am delighted to be alone ; I walk out, I amuse 
myself with reading and work, and I go to church ; in short 
I ask pardon of the company I expect, but I own I do won- 
drous well without them. 



A Courtier. — The other day the dauphin was shooting at a 
mark, and shot very wide of it : M. de Montausier rallied hinc 
upon it ; and told the Marquis de Crequi, who is very skillful 
to fire, saying to the dauphin, " See how well he will hit tho 
mark. The arch youth had the complaisance to shoot a foo* 

16 



410 SELECTIONS FROM 

further from it than the dauphin, which turned the laugh en 
M. de Montausier : " Ah ! little wretch," said he, " you deserve 
to be hanged." 

The Kino. — The king, in reality, is well served : neither 
life nor fortune is considered when his pleasure is the question. 
If we were as well disposed toward God, we should be saints 
indeed. 



Christian Humility. — I know very well that Jesus Christ, 
St. Paul, and St. Augustine, preached and exhorted, it was 
their business ; this latter gives good reason for doing so. 
But a poor sinner, recovered only three days from a worse 
state than ours, should keep silence, penetrated with the mercy 
of God toward him, occupied only with his happiness, and the 
true gratitude he owes to his Saviour, for having selected and 
distinguished him from so many others, without any merit, 
through free grace : such should be the sentiments of his 
heart, and if charity should make him interest himself for his 
neighbor, it should display itself in lamentations before God, 
and in supplicating the same grace for others that has so plen- 
tifully been poured upon him. Such was that penitent and 
holy princess, Madame de Longueville ; she did not forget her 
situation nor the abyss from which God had saved her ; she 
preserved the remembrance as a foundation for her penitence 
and her lively acknowledgment to the Almighty. Thus is 
Christian humility preserved and the grace of Jesus Christ 
honored. This does not preclude reflection and Christian con- 
versation with our friends ; but no sermons, no scolding ; these 
revolt, and make us recollect and refer persons to their past 
life, because we find they have forgotten it. I am astonished 
that people of good sense should fall into this injustice ; but we 
ought to be astonished at nothing ; for what do we not meet 
with in our journey through life ? 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 411 

Home Life. — We lead so regular a life that it is scarcely 
possible to be ill. We rise at eight, and I often walk till nine, 
when the bell rings for mass, to breathe the fresh air in the 
woods ; after mass we dress, bid each other good-day, return 
and gather orange-flowers, dine, and work or read till five. 
Since my son's absence, I read to save his little wife's lungs ; I 
leave her at five, and return to those delightful groves, with a 
servant who follows me : I take books with me, change my 
route, and vary my walks ; from a book of devotion I turn to 
one of history, this creates a little change ; I think of God, 
and his over-ruling providence possesses my soul, and reflect on 
futurity ; at length, about eight o'clock I hear a bell. This is 
the summous to supper. I prefer this life infinitely to that of 
Kennes ; is it not a fit solitude for a person who should think 
of her salvation, and who either is or would be a Christian ? 
In short, my dearest child, there is nothing but you that I 
prefer to the tranquil repose I enjoy here ; for I own with 
pleasure, that I would willingly pass some more time with 
you if it pleased God. 

Liberty at Home. — What do you say my child ? would 
you not suffer me to have two or three hours to myself, after 
having been at mass, to dinner, and till five o'clock working, 
or talking with my daughter-in-law ? she would, I believe, be 
as much vexed at this as myself : she is a good little woman, 
and we agree wonderfully well together ; but we have a great 
taste for the liberty of parting and meeting again afterward. 
When I am with you, my child, I own I never leave you but 
with regret and consideration for you ; with every other per- 
son, it is from consideration for myself. Nothing can be more 
just or more natural : it is impossible to feel for two persons 
what I feel for you ; leave us, therefore, a little to our sacred 
freedom ; it agrees with me, and by the help of books the time 
passes in this waj as quickly as it does at your brilliant 
castle. 



412 SELECTIONS FROM 

Readings. — Our readings are delightful. We have Ab- 
badie* and the History of the Church ; this is marrying the 
lute to the voice. You are not fond of wagers ; I know not 
how we could captivate you a whole winter here. You skim 
lightly, and are not fond of history ; and we have no pleasure 
but when we are attached to our subject and make it a busi- 
ness. Sometimes, by way of change, we read Les petites Lettres 
of Pascal ; good heavens ! how delightful they are, and how 
well my son reads them ! I constantly think of my daughter, 
and how worthy of her this extreme propriety of reasoning 
would be : but your brother says you find that it is always 
the same thing : ah ! so much the better ; can there be a 
more perfect style, more finely wrought, more delicate un- 
affected raillery, or more nearly allied to the dialogues of 
Plato, which are so very beautiful ! And when, after the first 
ten letters, he addresses himself to the R. P.s, what serious- 
ness ! what solidity ! what force ! what eloquence ! what a 
way of supporting it and of making it understood ! All this 
is to be found in the last eight letters, which are very different 
from the former. I am persuaded you never did more than 
glance over them, selecting the most beautiful passages ; but 
they should be read leisurely. * * * * 

You ask me what books we are reading. When we have 
company reading is laid aside ; but before the meeting of the 
states, we read some little books that scarcely took us up a 
moment : — Mohammed II., who took Constantinople from the 
last emperor of the East ; this is a great event, so singular, 
brilliant, and extraordinary, that we are carried away with it ; 
and it happened but two hundred and thirty-six years ago : — 
the Conspiracy of Portugal, which is very fine : the Variations 
of M. de Maux : a volume of the History of the Church, the 
second is too full of the detail of the councils, and therefore 
might be tedious : Les Iconoclastes and the Arianism of Mairn- 
bourg ; this author is detestable, his style disagreeable ; he is 
always desirous of being satirical, and compares Alius, a 
* Author of La Verite de la Religion Chretienne. 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 413 

princess and a courtier, to M. Arnauld, Madame de Longue- 
ville, and Treville ; but setting aside these fooleries, the his- 
torical passages are so very fine, the Council of Nice so admir- 
able, that it is read with pleasure ; and as he brings us down 
to Theodosius, we shall find consolation for all our evils in 
the elegant style of M. de Flechier.* 



Arianism. — I am at present reading, the history of Arian- 
ism ; I neither like the authorf nor his style : but the history 
itself is admirable ; it is indeed that of the whole world : it 
has a share in every thing, and seems to have springs that move 
all the powers of the earth. The genius of Arius was aston- 
ishing ; as it likewise is, to see how his heresy spread itself 
over the world ; almost all the bishops join in the error ; St. 
Athanasius alone stands forth to defend the divinity of Jesus. 
These great events are truly worthy of admiration. When I 
wish to feast my understanding and my soul, I retire into my 
closet ; I listen to our fathers, and their glorious morality, 
which makes us so well acquainted with our own hearts. 

I am employed in reading my Arianism : it is a strange 
history, in which nothing displeases me but the author and 
the style ; but I have a pencil, and am revenged on him, by 
marking some passages which I think highly diverting from 
the earnest desire he shows of drawing parallels between the 
Arians and the Jansenists, and the perplexity he is under to 
reconcile the conduct of the Church in the first ages of Chris- 
tianity with that of the Church at present. Instead of pass- 
ing slightly over them, he says, that the Church for good rea- 
sons does not act now as it did then. 



Adoration. — I find communion is frequent in Provence ; to 
my shame be it spoken, I neglected the immaculate concep- 

e Esprit Flechier, Bishop of Mmes, author of the Life of Theodosius. 
f Louis Maimbourg. 



414 SELECTIONS FROM 

tion of the Mother, to reserve myself wholly for the nativity 
of the Son ; for this we can not be too well prepared. 



Jealousy. — You are doubtless convinced that my senti- 
ments and yours are the same ; but I want to teach you 
jealousy, at least in theory, and assure you, credi a me pur che 
Vho provato* that we often say things we do not think ; and 
even if we did think them, would that be a sign of not lev- 
ing ? Quite the contrary ; for if we were to analyze these 
speeches, so full of anger and resentment, we should find a 
great deal of affection and attachment at the bottom. Some 
hearts are remarkably delicate ; when these happen to meet 
with a cool or indifferent disposition, a very considerable 
progress is made in the region of jealousy. This I have 
thought myself obliged in conscience to say to you ; make 
your own reflections upon it, for I can not pretend to enter 
into particulars at the distance of two hundred leagues. 



Folly. — A young man came to visit me the other day, who 
is the son of a gentleman of Anjou, with whom I was form- 
erly intimately acquainted. At his entrance I beheld a fine, 
graceful, handsome figure, which struck me with pleasure ; 
but, alas ! as soon as he opened his mouth, he laughed at every 
word he spoke, which made me almost ready to cry. He has 
a smattering of Paris and the opera ; he sings ; is familiar and 
airy ; and repeats with great gravity, " Quand on n'a point ce 
qu'on aime, qu'importe, qu'importe, a quel prix ?f instead of to 
obtain what we love, which you know are the words of the 
opera. I recommend this charming alteration to M. de Grig- 
nan, to set it to music. 



The Lot of Mankind. — I wish to write in my prayer-book 
what M. de Comines says of the cross purposes of human life. 
It is pleasant to see that, even in his time, tribulation and 

* Believe me for I have proved it. 

f To obtain what we do not love, what price is too great? 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 415 

misery were the lot of mankind. His style gives peculiar 
grace to the solidity of his argument. For my part, I am de- 
termined to be more than ever convinced of the impossibility 
of being happy in this world, since God keeps loyally to what 
he has promised.* 

Expenses, Retrenchments, etc. — I readily conceive that 
you are fearful of looking into the expense you have incurred : 
it is a machine that must not be touched, lest it fall and crush 
you with its weight. There is something of enchantment in 
the magnificence of your castle, and the elegance of your table. 
The dilapidation must be ruinous, and I can not conceive what 
you mean by saying that it is not considerable. It is a kind 
of black art, like that among courtiers, who, though they have 
not a penny in their pockets, undertake the most expensive 
journeys both by land and water, follow every fashion, are at 
every ball, masquerade, and ring, in every lottery, and still go 
the same round, though overwhelmed in debts. I forgot tc 
mention gaming, which is another curious article. Then 
estates dwindle away ; but no matter, they still go on. Jus 
so it is with you. 

******* 
I fancy that by this -time you are somewhat cured of your 
Grignan economy, where you were to live for little or nothing ; 
for it was nothing, it seems, nothing at all, to have four or five 
tables, to keep open house, and furnish entertainment for man 
and horse ; a thing that no one in the world now thinks of 
doing: in short, say what you please, that famous caravansera 
of yours appears to me to teem with ruin ; this concourse of 
people seems to me like the flood which carries all before it. 
In short, my child, I dare not think of this vortex ; Paris will 
prove your resting-place : stay here at least till you have con- 
fronted your expenses, and can look your return ir the face. 

****** * 

* This is the passage from Comines. 

"No creature is exempt from suffering. All eat their bread in pain." 



416 SELECTIONS FROM 

There are many things yet to settle, which concern you *s 
much as myself, and I might as well not have made this jour- 
ney at all, as to make it too short ; so that I must resolve to 
drain the bitter cup to the bottom. Besides, as I observed to 
you in a former letter, the money I save by being here, serves 
to pay off a part of my debts elsewhere ; without this expe- 
dient, what could I have done ? You well know what I mean ; 
it has cost me many an uneasy moment : and, indeed, what 
could you yourself have done, but for the assistance you re- 
ceived ? At present, I fancy, you have made matters up tol- 
erably well. 

Baptism. — What you said the other day, as to humor and 
memory, was perfectly just ; they are certainly things which 
are not sufficiently known. I also intend to convict you of 
heresy, my child ; and, be as angry as you please, I insist, that 
the death of Jesus Christ is not alone sufficient, without bap- 
tism : he requires the water, the spirit, and the blood, and it 
is on these conditions alone that his death can be of service 
to us. No part of the old man can enter into heaven, but by 
regeneration through Jesus Christ. If you ask me my rea- 
sons, I shall reply with St. Augustine, that I can give none, 
any more than I can tell why, having come into the world to 
save all men, he saves so very few ; or why he concealed him- 
self during his life-time, and would not let any one know or 
follow him. I can give no reason for all these things ; but of 
this I am certain, that since he thought fit they should be so, 
they must be right and proper, seeing that his will is truth 
and justice. 



Order. — If Providence delights in order, and order is no 
other than the will of God, there must be many things con- 
trary to his will. The persecutions against St. Athanasius, and 
other orthodox divines, and the calm prosperity of tyrants, are 
all contrary to order, and consequently to the will of God 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 417 

therefore, with leave of Father Malebranche,* would it not be as 
well to confine ourselves to what St. Augustine says, that God 
permits all things that come to pass, that he may derive glory 
from them to himself, by ways unknown to man ? St. Augus- 
tine acknowledges no rule or order but the will of God, and if 
we do not follow his doctrine, we shall have the mortification 
of finding, that, as scarcely any thing in this world is agreea- 
ble to order, every thing must pass contrary to his will who 
made all things ; which, in my mind, is a shocking supposi- 
tion. 



Mary Blanche^ — You give me an excellent idea of your 
eldest daughter ; I see her before me ; pray embrace her for 
me ; I rejoice that she is happy. For your son, you may love 
him as much as you please ; he deserves it ; every one speaks 
highly of him, and praises him in a way that would give you 
pleasure ; we expect him this week. I have felt all the force 
of the phrase he made use of to gain esteem, " which must 
come, or tell the reason why :" it brought tears into my eyes 
at the moment ; but esteem is come already, and will not have 
to say why it staid away. The reputation of this child is al- 
ready commenced, and will now only increase. 



The young Marquis de Grignan.J — Your son was last 
night at the Duke de Chartres' ball ; he was very handsome, 
and will inform you of his success. You must not, however, 
calculate upon his studying much ; he owned to us yesterday, 
very sincerely, that he is at present incapable of paying proper 
attention ; his youth hurries him away, and he does not un- 
derstand what he reads. We grieve that he has not, at least, 
a taste for reading, and that he wants inclination more than 

* Father Malebranche says, that " all that is done in nature is done 
from the nature of order." 

f Mary Blanche, eldest daughter of Madame de Grignan. She waa 
a nun at St. Mary at Aix. 

% Grandson of Madame the Sevigne. 



418 SELECTIONS FEOM 

time. His frankness prevented our scolding him ; I know not 
what we did not say to him ; I mean the chevalier, myself 
and Corbinelli, who was rather warm upon the occasion. 
But we must not fatigue or force him ; this taste will come in 
time, my dear ; for it is not possible, that, with so much spirit, 
good sense, and love for his profession, he should have no 
desire to be made acquainted with the exploits of the heroes 
of antiquity, and particularly Ccesar at the head of his Com- 
mentaries. Have patience, and do not fret : he would be too 
perfect were he fond of reading. * * * * * 
I am also of opinion, that by reading we learn to write ; 
I know some officers of rank, whose style is vulgar ; it is, 
however, a delightful thing to be able to communicate our 
thoughts ; but it also often happens that these people write 
as they think, and as they speak ; every thing is in unison. 



Paulina.* — I am pleased with Coulanges' praise of Paulina ; 
it is well applied, and makes me understand what sort of 
charms she possesses, curbed however by persons who have 
not given her the best nosef in the world. If the count had 

* Paulina de Grignan, born in 1674, and married in 1695, to the 
Marquis de Simiane, was noticed at five or six years of age, for the 
agreeableness of her wit, as well as the beauty of her person. Her let- 
ters were already looked upon as performances in which the pleasing 
and the natural were equally combined. She had scarcely entered her 
fourth year, when she would occasionally utter repartees full of wit and 
pleasantry. She was not more than thirteen when she wrote, at Mad- 
ame de G-rignan's request, a small piece of devotion which the bright- 
est genius might have been proud of. It is easy to guess how a per- 
son thus favored by nature must turn out, educated under the eyes of 
a mother and grandmother whose good sense seemed as it were trans- 
fused into her. She excelled not only in the epistolary style, but also 
in the poetic, though she never wrote but for amusement. The solid 
principles of true religion, in which she was brought up, shone forth in 
her, amid the bustle of courts and secular affairs ; a ad never with so 
much splendor as in the last year of her life, which she employed whol« 
ly in the exercise of the most sublime virtues of Christianity. 

f Paulina's nose resembled her grandmother's. 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 419 

given her his fine eyes and fine person, and left the rest to yon, 
Paulina would have set the world on fire ; she would have 
been irresistible ; this pretty mixture is a thousand times bet- 
ter, and must certainly form a very pretty personage. Her 
sprightliness resembles yours ; your wit always bore away 
the palm, as you say of hers ; I like this panegyric. She will 
soon learn Italian, with the assistance of a better mistress than 
you had. You deserve as excellent a daughter as mine has 
been. I told you that you might do what you wished with 
yours, from her disposition to please you ; she appears to me 
worthy of your love. ******* 

Paulina then is not perfect ; I could never have supposed 
that her chief imperfection would have been ignorance of re- 
ligion. You must instruct her in this, which you are very 
capable of doing ; it is your duty, and you have good books 
to assist you : in return, your sister-in-law, the abbess, will 
teach her the world. ***** 

You astonish me by what you say of Paulina ; pray, pray, 
my dear child, keep her with you ; think not that a convent 
can repair the errors of education, whether as to religion, with 
which the sisterhood are very little acquainted, or as to any 
thing else. You will do much better at Grignan, when you 
have time for application. You will make her read good 
authors ; you will converse with her, and M. de la Garde will 
assist you : I am convinced that this is preferable to a convent. 



Faith in Christ. — So then, you read St. Paul and St. Au- 
gustine ; two excellent laborers to establish the absolute will 
of God. They never scruple to assert, that God disposes of 
his creatures as the potter does of his clay ; some he chooses, 
some he rejects. They are no loss to apologize for his justice, 
since there is no other justice but his will. It is justice itself, 
it is the rule of right ; and, after all, what does he owe to man ? 
Is he in any way dependent on him ? Not at all. He, there- 
fore, does them justice in rejecting them, on account of the 
stain of original sin, which is communicated to all ; and he 



420 SELECTIONS FROM 

selects a few, whom he saves by his son Jesus Christ, who 
himself says, " I know my sheep, and am known of mine : I 
will lead them forth to the pasture, and not one shall be lost." 
" I have chosen you," saith he in another place to his apostles, 
" and you have not chosen me." There are numberless pass- 
ages of this nature ; I meet with them continually, and un- 
derstand them all ; and when I find others that seem to con- 
tradict them, I say to myself, This is to be understood figura- 
tively, as when we read that " God was in wrath," that " God 
repented him," and the like : and I always abide by that first 
and great truth, which represents God to me as he is, the 
sovereign master, the supreme creator and author of the uni- 
verse ; in a word, as a being infinitely perfect, agreeably to 
Descartes' idea. Such are my humble and reverential thoughts, 
from which, however, I deduce no ridiculous consequences, 
nor do they deprive me of the hope of being of the number 
of the elect of God, after the mercies he has bestowed on me, 
which are so many foundations upon which to ground my 
confidence. 



The Fire-eater. — Yesterday a young man came here from 
Vitre, whom I knew to have lived formerly as footman with 
M. Coulanges. M. de Grignan has seen him at Aix. He 
showed me a printed list of the feats he performed with fire ; 
he has the secret of the man you have heard spoken of at 
Paris. Among a thousand wonderful things that he did, and 
which I am astonished the government permits, on account 
of the consequences, I was struck with one in particular, which 
is soon done ; this was the letting fall from his hand into his 
mouth ten or twelve drops of flaming sealing-wax, with which 
he appeared to be no more affected than if it had been so 
much cold water ; he did not make the least grimace, or sign 
of uneasiness, and his tongue looked as fair and unhurt after 
the operation as before. I have often heard of these fire-eat- 
ers ; but I must confess, that to see the thing performed in my 
own room, and under my v^ry eye, struck me with astonishment 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 421 

Books. — We pass our time here very quietly ; this you can 
not doubt ; but very swiftly, which will surprise you : work, 
walking, conversation, reading, all these are called in to our 
assistance. Speaking of books, you tell me wonders of M. 
Nicole's last production ; I have read some passages that ap- 
peared to me very fine ; the author's style enlightens, as you 
say, and makes us enter into ourselves, in such a way as dis- 
covers the beauty of his mind and the goodness of his heart ; 
for he never scolds out of season, which is the worst thing in 
the world, and never produces the desired effect. I did not 
purchase the book at the time, which was in Lent : I contented 
myself with the good Le Tourneux.* We are reading a 
treatise of the pious man of Port-Royal upon continual prayer, 
which is a sequel to certain pious works that are very fine ; 
but this, which is much larger, is so spiritual, so luminous, and 
so holy, that though it be a thousand degrees above our under- 
standings, it does not fail to please and charm us. We are 
delighted to find that there have been, and still are, people in 
the world, to whom God has communicated his Holy Spirit 
and grace in such abundance ; but, good heavens ! when shall 
we be possessed of one little spark, of one single degree ? How 
sad it is to find ourselves so far behind here, and so near in 
other things ! fie, He, let us not name this misfortune ! wo 
ought to humble ourselves at it a hundred times a day. 



Liberty of Mind. — There are certain periods of life in 
which we attend to nothing but ourselves. You indeed have 
never been much occupied in that way ; but when we came 
down this river together, we were more engaged in disputing 
about the Count des Chapelles than in admiring the beauties 
of the rural scenes that surrounded us. Now, the case is 
exactly the reverse : we observe a profound silence, are per- 
fectly at our ease, reading, musing, admiring, out of the way 

* Nicholas de Tourneux, confessor of Port-Royal, so well-known by 
his excellent work, entitled " The Christian Year," and by a great num 
ber oi other important works. 



422 SELECTIONS FROM 

of all sorts of news, and living upon our own reflections. The 
good abbe (her uncle), is always praying : I listen attentively to 
his pious ejaculations ; but when he has got to his beads I beg 
to be excused, finding that I can meditate much better without 
them. In short, we manage to pass twelve or fourteen hours 
without being very unhappy ; such a fine thing is liberty. 



The Nuns of Saint-Marie. — My greatest satisfaction is m 
visiting the nuns of Saint-Marie; they are truly amiable 
women ; they still retain the remembrance of you, of which 
they do not fail to make a merit with me : they are neither 
silly nor conceited, like some you know ; they do not believe 
the present Pope* to be a heretic ; they understand the religion 
they profess, and will never reject the Holy Scriptures because 
they have been translated by worthy men ; they pay all due 
honor to the saving grace of Christ ; they acknowledge the 
power of providence ; they educate the young girls committed 
to their care very properly, and neither teach them to lie nor 
to dissemble ; no chimeras, no idolatry is to be found among 
them. In short, I have a great regard for them. M. de Grig- 
nan would think them Jansenists ; for my part, I think them 
Christians : there are two of them who have an infinite deal of 
wit. I shall go to their house to-morrow to write, and I shall 
dine with them on Saturday : they are all the comfort I have 
here. 



Moral Essays. — Do you not intend to read the Moral 
Essays, and to give me your opinion of them ? For my part, 
I am charmed with them ; and so I am with the funeral 
oration on M. de Turenne; there are passages in it which 
must have affected all that were present. I do not doubt but 
it has been sent you ; tell me if you do not think it very fine. 
Do you not intend to finish Josephus ? We read a great deal 
of serious as well as lighter subjects ; fable and history. We 

* Innocent XL, who passed for favoring the Jansenists, merely be- 
cause he took no steps against them. 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 423 

are so deeply engaged with these, that we have scarcely leisure 
for any other employments. They pity us at Paris; they 
think us confined to a fire-side by the inclemency of the season, 
and languishing under a dearth of amusement ; but, my dear, 
I walk ; I find a thousand diversions ; the woods are neither 
wild nor inhospitable.' It is not for passing my time here 
instead of at Paris that I am to be pitied. 



History of the Bible. — I am, moreover, reading the em- 
blems of the Holy Scriptures,* which begin from Adam. I 
have begun with the creation of the world, which you are so 
fond of, and shall end with the death of our Saviour, which 
you know is an admirable series. We find in it every circum- 
stance, though related concisely ; the style is fine ; it is done 
by an eminent hand : the history is interspersed throughout 
with excellent reflections, taken from the fathers, and is very 
entertaining. For my own part, I go much further than the 
Jesuits ; and when I see the reproaches of ingratitude, and 
the dreadful punishments with which God afflicted his people, 
I can not help concluding, that we, who are freed from the yoke 
to which they were subjected, are, in consequence, highly 
culpable, and justly deserve those scourges of fire and water 
which the Almighty employs when he thinks fit. The Jesuits 
do not say enough on this subject, and others give cause to 
murmur against the justice of the Deity, in weakening the 
supports of our spiritual liberty, as they do. You see what 
fruit I derive from my reading. I fancy my confessor will 
enjoin me to read the philosophy of Descartes. 



Affection. — I fancy myself qualified to write a treatise on 
affection ; there are a thousand things depending on it, a 
thousand things to be shunned, in order to prevent those we 

* History of the Old and New Testament, by M. de Saci, Sieur de 
Royaumont. He composed this book in the Bastile. It is, they say, 
filled -with allusions to the vicissitudes of Jansenism in that age, M. 
de Saci was president of the nuns at Port-Royal. 



424 SELECTIONS FROM 

• 

love from smarting for it : there are innumerable instances 
where we give them pain, and in which we might alleviate' 
their feelings, were we to reflect and to turn things in all the 
points of view we ought, out of regard to the object of our 
love. In short, I could make it appeal' in my book, that there 
are a thousand different ways of proving our regard without 
talking of it ; as well as of saying by actions that we have no 
real regard, even while the treacherous tongue is making pro- 
testations to the contrary. I mean no one in particular, but 
what I have written, I have written. 



Submission. — I beg you will read the second part of the 
second treatise in the first volume of Moral Essays ; I am 
sure you know it, but you may not perhaps have observed it 
particularly ; it is on the subject of submission to the will of 
God. You will there see how clearly it is demonstrated that 
Providence governs all things ; that is my creed, by that I 
abide : and though a contrary doctrine may be advanced else- 
where, to keep fair with all sides, I shall consider such con 
duct only in the light of a political stratagem, and follow the 
example of those who believe as I do, though they may 
change their note. 

Philosophy. — You say that I make God the author of 
every thing that happens ; read, read, I say, that part of the 
treatise I have pointed out to you, and you will find that we 
are to look to Him for every thing, but with reverence and 
humility, and consider man only as the executor of his orders, 
from whose agency he can draw what effects he thinks proper. 
It is thus we reason, when our eyes are lifted up to heaven , 
but, in general, we are apt to confine our views to the pool 
contemptible second causes that strike our bodily senses, and 
bear with impatience what we ought to receive with submis- 
sion ; and such, alas ! is my present wretched situation. ] 
join with you in believing that philosophy is good for little, 
except to those who do not stand in need of it. You desira 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 425 

me to love you more and more : indeed, you embarrass me ; 
I know not where to find that degree of comparison ; it is be- 
yond my conception : but this I am certain of, that I never 
can, in thought, word, or deed, evince the thousandth part of 
the affection I bear you ; and this is that sometimes distracts 
me. 



Old Age. — So then you were struck with an expression of 
Madame de la Fayette's ("you are old,") blended with so 
much friendship. Though I say to myself that this is a truth 
which should not be forgotten, I confess I was all astonish- 
ment at it ; for I yet feel no sort of decay that puts me in 
mind of it. I can not, however refrain from calculating and 
reflecting, and I find that the conditions of life are very hard. 
It seems to me that I have been dragged against my will to 
the fatal period, when old age must be endured ; I see it, I 
have attained it ; and I would, at least, contrive not to go 
beyond it, not to advance in the road of infirmities, pain, loss 
of memory, disfigurements which are ready to lay hold of me ; 
and I hear a voice which says, You must go on in spite of 
yourself; or, if you will not, you must die, an alternative at 
which nature recoils. Such, however, is the fate of those who 
have reached a certain period. ***** 

I contemplate this evil, which has not yet proved itself so, 
with heroic courage; I prepare myself for its consequences 
with peace and tranquillity ; and seeing there is no way of 
escape, and that I am not the strongest, I think of the obliga- 
tion I owe to God, for conducting me so gently to the grave. 
I thank him for the desire he daily gives me to prepare for 
death, and the wish of not draining my life to the dregs. 
Extreme old age is frightful and humiliating : the good Cor- 
binelli and I see a painful instance of this truth hourly, in the 
poor Abbe de Coulanges, whose helplessness and infirmities 
make us wish never to reach this period 



426 SELECTIONS FROM 

Sermons. — When I am as good as M. de la Garde, if ever 
God grants me this grace, I shall like all sermons ; in the 
mean while I content myself with the Gospels as explained by 
M. le Tourneux ; these are real sermons, and nothing but the 
vanity of man could load modern discourses with their present 
contents. We sometimes read the Homilies of St. John 
Chiysostom ; these are divine, and please us so highly, that I 
persist in not going to Rennes till passion week, to avoid being 
exposed to the eloquence of the preachers who hold forth in 
behalf of the parliament. ****** 

The Marshal de Grammont was so transported the other day, 
at a sermon of Bourdaloue's, that he cried out, in the middle 

of a passage that struck him, " By , he is right." Madamo 

burst out a laughing, and the sermon was interrupted so long 
that nobody knew what would be the consequence. If your 
preachers are as you represent them, I am apt to think they 
will be in no great danger of their being interrupted by such 
praises. 

Josephus. — I am glad you like Josephus, Herod, and Aris- 
tobulus. I beg you to go on, and see the end of the siege of 
Jerusalem, and the fate of Josaphat. Take courage ; every 
thing is beautiful in this historian, every thing is grand, every 
thing is magnificent, every thing is worthy of you ; let not an 
idle fancy prevail with you to lay him aside. I am in the 
History of France ; that of the Crusades has occasioned my 
looking into it, but it is not to be compared to a single leaf 
of Josephus. Alas ! with what pleasure we weep over the 
misfortunes of Aristobulus and Mariamne : 



Hope ever. — We should never despair of our good fortune. 
I thought my son's situation quite hopeless, after so many 
storms and shipwrecks, without employments, and out of the 
way of fortune ; and while I was indulging these melancholy 
reflections, Providence destined, or had destined, us to so 
advantageous a marriage, that I could not have wished for a 



VARIOUS LETTERS. 427 

better alliance, even at the time when my son had the great- 
est reason to expect it. It is thus we grope in the dark, not 
knowing our way, taking good for evil, and evil for good, in 
entire ignorance. 

Twilight. — I hate twilight when I have nobody to chat 
with ; and I had rather be alone in the woods, than alone in 
a room. This is like plunging up to the neck in water to save 
one's self from the rain : but any thing rather than an arm- 
chair. 



A Presentiment. — Good Heavens! my dear child, what 
fools your women are, both living and dead ! your top-knots* 
shock me ! What a profanation ! it smells of paganism ; foh ! 
It would make me shudder at the thoughts of dying in Pro- 
vence; I would, at least, be assured that the milliner and 
undertaker were not sent for at the same time. Fie, fie, 
indeed ! but no more of this.f 

* It was the custom in Provence to bury the dead with their faces 
uncovered ; and the women who wore ribbons as a head-dress, retained 
them in their coffins. 

f This passage might deserve the name of presentiment. All she 
feared came to pass. She died in Provence, and the very head-dress 
which was so repugnant to her mind, adorned her in her coffin. 



LETTERS ON THE- DEATH OP MADAME DE 

SEVIGNE. 



LETTER L 

STROM THE COUNTESS DE GRIGNAN TO THE PRESIDENT 

DE MOULCEAU. 

Paris, April 18, 1696. 
Your politeness, sir, need not lead you to fear the renewal 
of my grief,* in speaking to me of the afflicting loss I have 
sustained. This is an object which my mind bears constantly 
in view, and which is so deeply engraven in my heart that 
nothing has power to increase or diminish it. I am convinced, 
sir, that you could not have heard the dreadful misfortune 
which has happened to me without shedding tears ; I can an- 
swer for your heart : you lose a friend of incomparable merit 
and fidelity ; nothing is more worthy of your regret ; and 
what, sir, do not I lose ? what perfections were not united in her 
to me, by different characters, most dear and most precious ? 
A loss so complete and so irreparable, leads me to seek for 
consolation only in the bitterness of tears and groans. I have 
not strength to raise my eyes to the place whence comfort 
flows ; I can yet only cast them around me, and I no longer 
see the dear being who has loaded me with blessings, whose 
attention from day to day has been occupied in adding fresh 
proofs of her love to the charms of her society. It is too 
true, sir, that it requires more than human fortitude to bear sc 

* Madame de Sevigne, as it appears, died early in April 



DEATH OF MADAME DE S^VIGNl 429 

cruel a disunion and so much privation. I was far from being 
prepared for it : the perfect health I saw her enjoy, and a 
year's illness, which a hundred times endangered my own life, 
had taken from me the idea that the order of nature could be 
fulfilled by her dying first. I flattered myself that I should 
never have this great evil to endure : it is come upon me, and 
I feel it in all its severity. I deserve your pity, sir ; and some 
share in the honor of your friendship, if sincere esteem and 
high veneration for your virtue can deserve it. My sentiments 
have been the same toward you since I had the pleasure of 
knowing you ; and I believe I have more than once told you 
that it is impossible for any one to respect you more than I do. 



LETTER IL 

FROM M. DE OOULANGES TO MADAME DE SIMIANE.* 

Paris, May 25, 1696. 
Far from taking it unkindly, madam, that you did not 
write to me with your own hand, I am very much surprised 
that you even thought of me at a time so cruel and so fatal as 
the present. I did not doubt your sensibility at the loss we 
have sustained ; and I could easily conceive what it would cost 
your excellent heart. God of heaven, what a blow is this to 
us all ! For myself, I am lost in the thought that I shall no 
longer see the dear cousin to whom I have been from infancy 
so affectionately attached, and who returned this attachment 
so tenderly and so faithfully. If you could see, madam, all 
that passes here, you would be still better acquainted with the 
merit of your grandmother, for never was worth more truly 
acknowledged than hers ; and the public renders her, with 
pious regret, all the honor which is due to her. Madame de 
Coulanges is grieved to an excess that it is impossible to de- 

° The dear Pauline, the favorite grand-daughter of Madame de Se* 
vigne\ Seepage 418. 



430 LETTERS ON THE DEATH 

scribe, and I tremble for its effect upon her own health. From 
the day that announced to us the fatal illness, which in the 
end took our friend from us forever, we have lost all peace of 
mind. The Duchess de Chaulnes is almost dead, and poor 
Madame de la Troche — .* In short, we meet together to 
weep, and to regret what we have lost ; and in the midst of 
our grief, we are not without anxiety for the health of your 
mother. Do not write to me ; order one of your meanest 
attendants to inform us how you are : I entreat you to believe 
that your mother's health and your own are very precious to 
me, for more reasons than one ; for I think I owe it to the 
memory of Madame de Sevigne, to be more attached to you 
and Madame de Grignan than before, from knowing so well 
the sentiments she entertained for her and for you. I shall 
not write to your mother for a long time, for fear of increasing 
her grief by my letters ; but omit me not, whenever an oppor- 
tunity offers ; make mention of my name ; be assured that of 
all your servants, relations, friends, no one is more deeply 
afflicted than I am, no one feels a greater interest in all that 
concerns you. I shall not show your letter immediately to 
Madame de Coulanges ; but I shall not fail to tell her that you 
do not forget her. I can assure you that you owe her this jus- 
tice on account of her love for you. Allow me to pay my 
sad compliments to M. de Simiane, the Chevalier de Grig- 
nan, and M. de la Garde. Heavens, what a scene in this 
royal chateau ! Poor Mademoiselle de Marsillac too, who has 
so well discharged all the duties of friendship, how I feel for 
her! 



LETTER m. 

FROM MADAME DE COULANGES TO MADAME DE SIMIANE. 

Paris, May 2, 1696. 
I am truly obliged to you, madame, for still thinking of 
me. I knew all your excellences ; but the affection of your 
* This phrase is incomplete. 



OF MADAME Dl oV/IGHl 431 

heart, and the regard you have felt for a person so worthy of 
being beloved as she whom you regret, appear to me to be 
above all praise. Ah ! madara, how much reason have you 
to believe me to be deeply affected ! I can think of no other 
subject ; I can talk of nothing else. I am ignorant of the 
particulars of this fatal illness, and the eagerness with which 
I seek for them shows that I have little power over myself* 
I spent the whole of yesterday with the prior of St. Catha- 
rine's. You may guess upon what our conversation turned. 
I showed him the letter you have done me the honor to write 
to me. It gave him real pleasure, for persons of his turn ot 
mind are so convinced that this life ought only to serve as a 
passport to the other, that the dispositions in which we leave 
the world are to them the only ones that are worthy of at- 
tention. But we think of what we have lost, and we lament 
it. For myself, I have no female friend left. My turn will 
soon come ; it is reasonable to expect it ; but to hear a per- 
son of your age entertain such serious and melancholy 
thoughts is rare indeed. Your understanding, madam, 
makes me forget your youth ; and this, added to the natural 
partiality I feel for you, seems to authorize me to address you 
as I do. 



LETTER IV. 

FROM THE COUNT DE GRIGNAN TO M. DE COULANGES. 

Grignan, May 23, 1696. 

You, sir, can understand better than any one the magni- 
tude of the loss we have sustained, and my just grief. Mad- 
ame de Sevigne's distinguished merit was perfectly known 
to you. It is not merely a mother-in-law that I regret ; this 
name does not always command esteem ; it is an amiable and 
excellent friend, and a delightful companion. But it is a cir- 
cumstance more worthy of our admiration than our regret, 



432 DEATH OF MADAME DE SEVIGNE. 

that this noble-minded woman contemplated the approach of 
death, which she expected from the moment of her attack, 
with astonishing firmness and submission. She, who was so 
tender and so timid respecting those she loved, displayed the 
utmost fortitude and piety when she believed that she ought 
to think only of herself ; and we can not but remark how 
useful and important it is to fill the mind with good things 
and sacred subjects, for which Madame de Sevigne appears 
to have had a peculiar taste, not to say a surprising avidity, 
by the use she made of these excellent provisions in the last 
moments of her life. I relate these particulars to you, sir, 
because they accord with your sentiments, and will be gratify- 
ing to the friendship you have borne for her whom we la- 
ment ; and at the same time my mind is so full of them that 
it is a relief to me to find a man so well disposed as you 
are to listen to the recital, and take pleasure in hearing it. I 
hope, sir, that the memory of a friend who highly esteemed 
you will contribute to preserve to me the regard with which 
you have long honored me. I prize it too highly, and wish 
it too much, not to deserve it a little. 



INDEX. 



Adhemar, Count (see note) 30 

Adoration 413 

Affection 423 

Alone , 409 

Apparition, An 362 

Arianism 413 

Baptism 416 

Bellefond, Marshal . 15, 152 

Blanchfort 392 

Bleeding, An anecdote 401 

Books 421 

Bouillon, Duchess de 189, 191 

Bourdaloiie 91, 111 

Broncas 43 

Bride. A , 401 

Brinon, Madame de 260, 270 

Brinvilliers, Madame de 154, 155 

Brittany, Disturbances in 124, 238 

Bussy, Count de (see note) 19, 350 

Bussy, Count de, Letters to 19-28 

Calprenedre, La. 62 

Chantal, Baroness de 15 

Charles II. of England 245, 246 

Chaulnes, Madame de 66 

Chatelet, Magdalen de (see note) 56 

Chaulnes, Madame de 66 

Chaulnes, Duke de 386 

Chess 409 

Children, Hints about 395 

Christian Humility • 410 

19 



£34 INDEX. 

PAGB 

Colbert 118 

Company. 401 

Conde, Prince de 87 

Conti, Prince de. 353, 356, 361 

Corbinelli 181, 217, 355 

Coulanges, M. de, Letters to 368-393 

Coulanges, M. de, Letters from 425 

Coulanges, Madame de 187, 212, 223, 426 

Court News 38 

Courtier, A 409 

Dauphiness 208, 216 

Death 79 

Death of Madame de Sevigne 428 

Departure of Madame de Sevigne 28 

Descartes (termed Father in the Letters) 238 

Devices, Several 406 

Dreux, Madame de 214 

Dubois 220 

Dullness 134 

Elopement 331 

Esther, Tragedy of. 283 

Evening employments 400 

Expenses 415 

Faith in Christ. 419 

Payette, Madame de La 211, 212, 294 

Feuillade, M. de 129 

Pire-eater, The 420 

Flechier, (see note) 217 

Folly 414 

Forgiving Mother, A 408 

Fortune, Calculation of her , 51 

Fouquet, M 205, 208, 297-329 

Fouquet, Madame de 300, 303 

Free will.. 405 

Gaming 404 

General Preface 7 

Genevieve 121 

Grammont, Countess de , . 182 



INDEX. 435 

PAGB 

G-rammont, Marshal do .... 91, 422 

Grignan, Count de 26, 27 

Grignan, Count de, Letter from 427 

Grignan, Count de. Letters to 338-346 

Grignan, Madame or Countess, Letters to 28-296 

Grignan, Countess de, Letters from 424 

Grignan, Mademoiselle 357 

Grignan, the young Marquis 417 

Granville, M 17 

Guiche, Count de 91, 92 

Harcourt, Countess de 63 

History of the Bible 423 

Home Life • 411 

Hope ever 426 

Jealousy • 414 

Jews, their religion 147 

Joli, Claude 29 

Josephus 426 

King, The (see note 197) 410 

King of England 265, 269, 271, 280, 282 

King of France, Anecdote of 308 

King of France, Generosity of — 364 

La Marans 76, 89, 107 

La Trousse 129 

Launoi, Mademoiselle de 112 

Laizun, Duke de, Marriage of. 369 

Lavardin, M. de 228, 234, 378 

La Voisin, The prisoner 184,190, 200 

Liberty at Home 411 

Liberty of Mind 421 

Living, Rules of 399 

Longueville, Madame de 89, 210, 211 

Lot of Mankind, The 414 

Louvois, M. de 381, 383 

Love, its symptoms 408 

Luxembourg, M. de 185, 188, 192, 216 

fcfainbourg, Father (see note) • » 143 



436 INDEX. 

Maine, Duke of. 102 

Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Marriage of 368-373 

Maintenon, Madame (see note) 181, 182, 223 

Marriage, The impromptu 400 

Mary Blanche 41 7 

Mary Stuart (see note) 253 

Maxims 57, 67 

Meri, Chevalier de 181 

Montespan, Madame de 118, 119, 160, 396, 397 

Montmort, Abbe 40 

Moonlight Walk 230 

Moral Essays . . 422 

Moulceau, President de, Letters to 347-367 

Namur 388 

Nicole 61,70, 72 

Ninon de l'Enclos 16, 39 

Noailles, Duke de (see note) 348 

Nuns of St. Marie 422 

Obstinate Son 407 

Old age 425 

Order 56, 416 

Order de la St Esprit 255 

Pain 81 

Paulina 162, 164, 279, 289, 291, 418 

Pecuniary embarrassments 407 

Philipsburg 252 

Philosophy 424 

Plessis, Mademoiselle du 49, 51, 60, 225 

Polignac, Madame de. . . . » 363 

Pomponne, M. de, his dismissal 177, 187, 193 

Pomponne, M. de, Letters to 297-329 

Port Royal 395 

Potable Gold (see note) 167 

Preface, General 7 

Presentiment 427 

Providence 405 

Puissort (see note) 302 

Quarrels in High Life 402 



INDEX. 437 

PAOl 

Queen of England 267,271, 273 

Queen of France, Illness of. 312 

Queen of Spain poisoned (see note) 277 

Rabutin-Chantal, Marie de 15 

Racine 75, 80 

Readings 412 

Reason, Use of 405 

Reflections 396 

Regrets s . 32 

Reproaches 161 

Retz, Cardinal de 114, 117, 120 

Rheims, Archbishop of. Ill 

Rheumatism 151 

Richelieu, Cardinal (see note) 229 

Robbery (see note) 109 

Rochefoucault, M. de la 42, 82, 202, 204 

Rocks, The (Madame de Sevigne's estate).. 48 

Roquette, Gabriel de (see note) 210 

Saint Simon, Duke of 109 

Scarron, Madame de 74, 394 

Schomberg, Count de 253 

Schomberg, Madame de (see note). • 102 

Selections from various letters 394 

Sermons 426 

Sevigne, Madame de, and her time 13 

Sevigne, Marguerite de (see note) 28 

Sevigne, Marquis de 172,183, 198 

Sevigne, Marquis de, Letters to 330-337 

Sevigne, Madame de, Death of. 428 

Sevigne, Marquis de, Extravagance of ... . 403 

Sobieski, John (see note) 95 

Soissons, Countess de 186, 190 

St. Augustine..." 157, 414 

St. Cyr 275 

Submission 424 

Supper at Madame Coulanges 394 

Telescope, The • • • • 398 

Termes, M. de 168> 169 

Thiange3, Madame de - 100 

Thianges, Mademoiselle de 341 



438 INDEX. 

PAGB 

Transparencies 159 

Trappe, La 37 

Turenne, Marshall de (see note) 64, 126-135 

Twilight 427 

Valliere, Duchess de la. . 33, 104, 114 

Vardes, M. de 54, 351 

Vatel 44, 45 

Vendome, Chevalier .* 93, 94 

Yentadour, M. de 38 

Versailles in 1676 396 

Yillars, Abbe (see note) 68 

Yilleroi, Marshal de 189 

Vivonne,M.de 93,94, 110 

Whims ' 123 

"Words, The use of. 139 

Work 399 




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General Library 

University of California 

Berkeley 



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